Rwanda denies supporting DR Congo rebel attacks against troops

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Rwanda Tuesday denied accusations that its soldiers supported Congolese rebels of the March 23 Movement (M23) in their latest clashes with government troops in North Kivu Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) said fighting with M23 broke out early Monday in North Kivu province after the rebels attacked military positions in Tchanzu and Runyonyi in Rutshuru territory.

General Sylvain Ekenge, spokesman for the North Kivu governor, claimed that two soldiers of the Rwanda Defense Forces (RDF) were arrested during the attacks, and accused Rwanda of conspiring with the M23 rebels.

But in a statement Tuesday, Rwanda dismissed the allegations as baseless.

“We would like to categorically refute the baseless accusations and state that the RDF is not by any means involved in the belligerent activities across in DRC,” a statement signed by Francois Habitegeko, governor of the neighboring Western Province of Rwanda said.

The statement also denied that two Rwandan soldiers were arrested in the attacks, saying the RDF does not have any member with the alleged Names of the arrested presented to the press.

Rwanda called on Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM), a regional military framework for 12 countries of the Great Lakes region to investigate the “absurd” allegations against RDF.

The fighting in Rutshuru territory sent hundreds of refugees into Uganda. This is reportedly the third time since October 2021 that the FARDC has accused Rwanda of supporting the M23 in its attacks against its positions in the Rutshuru territory.

The M23 is a group of former rebels of the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP). The name originated from the March 23, 2009, agreement between the CNDP and the DRC government. M23 leaders have accused the government of failing to respect that agreement.—AP

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