Minister Biruta made the revelation on Tuesday 31st May 2022 during a press conference on the current situation of deteriorating relations with DRC.
The press conference has been held amidst ongoing tension between Rwanda and DRC, where the latter accuses Rwanda of supporting M23 rebel outfit in clashes with Congolese Army (FARDC). Rwanda has however been maintaining that the allegations ‘are baseless’ and accused DRC of working with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).
Minister Biruta has said that Congolese Army first shelled Rwandan territory on 19th March 2022. At the time, the projectiles did not injure anyone.
“However, the recent incident on 23rd May 2022 saw several projectiles shelled on Rwandan territory in Burera and Musanze, destroying houses and injuring people,” he noted.
Minister Biruta said that he called his counterpart of DRC inquiring into what happened, but did neither apologize to Rwanda nor reassure that it won’t happen again.
Apart from shelling on Rwandan territory, DRC in collaboration with FDLR was recently reported to have kidnaped two Rwandan soldiers on patrol.
FDLR is rebel outfit comprised of remnant masterminds of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi who at different times plotted hit-and-run attacks to Rwanda and repelled back.
Minister Biruta has talked about Rwanda’s possible reaction in case DRC’s provocations linger. He also disclosed that Rwanda won’t fold arms if DRC doesn’t stop its provocations.
“We have responsibilities to protect our citizens and country’s borderlines. A country defends itself against attacks. This means, if the issue persists, we cannot idly sit by and wait for repetitive shelling on our citizens every day or provocations to kidnap people anytime. It is among issues pointed out at the African Union Summit in Malabo. I clearly indicated that we have legitimacy to respond and defend ourselves, in case we are attacked,” he noted.
“We want such provocations to stop. We want these soldiers released. However, in case these attacks continue to threaten our country’s security, we would be legitimate to defend ourselves and you know that we have capacity,” Minister Biruta added.
The Deputy Spokesperson of the Government of Rwanda, Alain Mukuralinda has said that clashes with M23 rebel group is DRC’s internal matter that might continue to affect the country if no solution is reached.