Rwanda Kills DRC Soldier As SADC Kicks Off Operations Against M23 Rebels

Rwanda Kills DRC Soldier As SADC Kicks Off Operations Against M23 Rebels

By Spy Uganda Correspondent

 Rwanda said on Tuesday it had killed a soldier from Democratic Republic of Congo and captured two others on its territory in the latest sign of friction on their border.

The Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) said in a statement the Congolese soldiers crossed at Rubavu town, with one shot dead when he fired at a patrol and the other two arrested.

The soldiers had an AK-47 gun, four magazines with 105 rounds, a protective vest and sachets of cannabis, the RDF said.

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Congolese military spokesperson Sylvain Ekenge said in a statement that three soldiers were on patrol along the common border when they inadvertently crossed into Rwandan territory.

“The Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo deplore the shooting of one of these soldiers,” he said in a statement, adding that the army had made a request to repatriate all three of them.

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Kinshasa has long accused Kigali of backing M23 rebels, led by members of the Tutsi ethnic group, in eastern Congo, who last year launched a fresh offensive in an area near Uganda, forcing more than 1 million people to flee.

The attack happened as Congolese military officers and SADC troops from South Africa, Malawi and Tanzania were meeting to launch an operation against M23 rebels in eastern DRC. 

The SADC troops yesterday launched air strikes against M23 rebels’ command centers. The SADC troops were deployed in December last year to replace the East African Community Regional Forces (EACRF) that withdrew from eastern DRC after the Congolese government declined to extend their mandate. 

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According to local media reports, the Congolese and SADC military forces said, unlike the EACFC, they would participate in the fight against M23 rebels.

Meanwhile, President Paul Kagame yesterday met the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Davos, Switzerland and talked about the conflict in eastern DRC.

In a statement issued by the US State Department, President Kagame said he was looking at more efforts including by the United States to  solve the problems in the region.

“I’m looking forward to our discussion to see how we can take the further steps and continue more efforts to bring…conclusion to the conflict,” President Kagame said.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to support the efforts that are being made, including by Angola, by Kenya, to support a peaceful resolution to differences and avoiding conflict in the eastern DRC.”  Blinken said

‘‘We very much appreciate the work that’s been done, especially over the last couple of months.” he added.

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