DRC Recalls Its Ambassador From Kigali After Expelling Karega From Kinshasha, Thousands Join Street Protests

DRC Recalls Its Ambassador From Kigali After Expelling Karega From Kinshasha, Thousands Join Street Protests

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By Spy Uganda Correspondent

Thousands of protesters have stormed the streets in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) city of Goma, denouncing Rwanda’s alleged support of M23 rebels, as Kinshasa recalled its interim acting ambassador from Kigali in a further souring of relations.

The protests on Monday come as M23 have tightened their grip on the surrounding countryside.

“We denounce the hypocrisy of the international community in the face of Rwanda’s aggression,” Mambo Kawaya, a civil society representative attending the demonstration said.

A mostly Congolese Tutsi group, the M23 resumed fighting in late 2021 after lying dormant for years, accusing the Congolese government of failing to honour an agreement to integrate its fighters into the army.

The group’s resurgence has destabilised regional relations in central Africa, with the DRC accusing its smaller neighbour Rwanda of backing the rebel group.

The front line between the Congolese military and the M23 had been calm for several weeks, but fresh clashes from October 20 saw the rebel group make advances across North Kivu province.

Rebels in recent days seized the towns of Kiwanja and Rutshuru, along a strategic highway leading to the provincial capital Goma, which lies on the Rwandan border.

On Sunday, the DRC’s government ordered the Rwandan ambassador, Vincent Karega, to leave the country within 48 hours. Rwanda stated that it had noted the decision “with regret”.

The DRC’s foreign ministry has recalled the interim charge d’affaires from Kigali and ordered its newly-appointed ambassador to Rwanda not to register his credentials, it said in a statement on Monday.

On Sunday, Rwanda accused the DRC of escalating tensions between the two countries and said its forces along the border “remain on alert”.

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