Rwanda rejects U.S blame for Goma camp bombing, calls for credible investigation

On 5 May 2024 at 05:56

In a sharp rebuke to the U.S. Department of State’s 4 May 2024 statement, Rwanda dismissed allegations of responsibility for the tragic loss of life in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps around Goma in Eastern Democratic of Congo.

The Rwandan government has rejected claims that it played any role in the bombings that resulted in significant casualties, arguing that these accusations are both unfounded and politically motivated.

Rwanda’s strong response comes on the heels of reports indicating that the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) placed heavy artillery within the IDP camps, which Médecins Sans Frontières and other humanitarian organizations had previously warned against.

The subsequent shelling caused substantial damage and civilian casualties, raising serious questions about the FARDC’s conduct in a context already fraught with violence and instability.

Further complicating the situation are accounts of targeted shootings of protesters in the camps by both the FARDC and Burundian armed forces, creating a climate of fear and insecurity among the displaced populations.

In light of these events, Rwanda’s position is that a credible investigation should be conducted to establish the facts before blame is apportioned.

The U.S. government’s stance has been criticized for supporting the belligerent policies of the DRC government, which has formed coalitions with various militant groups, including the FDLR genocidal militia, Wazalendo, European mercenaries, SADC forces, and Burundian troops. Rwanda views this as a worrying development that undermines the U.S.’s role as a credible mediator in the region.

“The scapegoating of Rwanda by the U.S. government has become a predictable pattern. It endorses the belligerent position of the DRC government and their alignment with various militia groups, including the FDLR. This approach compromises the U.S.’s role as a mediator in the region and undermines prospects for a peaceful solution”, Rwanda’s statement reads in part.

The international community’s response to the escalating military build-up in eastern DRC and the resultant humanitarian crisis has also come under scrutiny. Despite expressing support for regional peace initiatives, many believe that the international community has failed to effectively address the root causes of the conflict, leaving millions of Congolese citizens in precarious conditions.

Given President Félix Tshisekedi’s threats to invade Rwanda and overthrow its government by force, Rwanda insists it must take necessary measures to defend its territory and protect its citizens.

While emphasizing its commitment to peace, Rwanda calls for a thorough investigation into the recent events and urges the international community to focus on de-escalating tensions and promoting genuine dialogue in the region.