Congolese and Rwandan Relations At Flash Point

Massive demonstrations rocked Goma, the North Kivu provincial capital in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) 11 hours ago once news spread that a a DRC soldier was killed in a shootout with Rwandan border security officers at a checkpoint. Rwandan officials claim that the DRC soldier crossed about 25m into Rwanda during an altercation between the police officers and a civilian who is believed to either be an M23 fighter or sympathizer. Numbers are still unclear, but it seems that at least two security officers, that civilian and the soldier were killed.

Congolese mourners follow the procession of DRC soldiers after the body of the slain soldier was repatriated back across the border from Rwanda.

This event sparked a meeting between the two foreign ministers of the African nations once the DRC shut down land borders in the provinces of North and South Kivu. DRC forces have mobilized along the major border crossings between the two nations and tensions are soaring at levels not seen since the M23 rebellions.

DRC militia mobilizing in Goma near the Petite Berrier border crossing where the shooting happened.

The two nations have experienced strained relations since the M23 rebellion which was an armed conflict in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo that occurred between the March 23 Movement and government forces. It broke out in 2012 and continued into 2013, when a peace agreement was made among eleven African nations, and the M23 troops surrendered in Uganda. The Rwandan government assisted the M23 movement with child soldiers, supplies, and safe havens in their attempt to take control of the Congolese government. In April 2012, former National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) soldiers mutinied against the DRC government and the peacekeeping contingent of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). Mutineers formed a rebel group called the March 23 Movement (M23), also known as the Congolese Revolutionary Army. More than 140,000 civilians were displaced from the region and relations have been sagging since.

The Congolese government has reached out the the British government urging them to exert their political influence over Rwanda to compel President Kagame to end the politically motivated violence in the region. The statement reads below:

The United States Department of State has also urged American citizens to avoid travel through the aforementioned regions due to ongoing mobilization and violence along the border.

Tessaron
Tessaron
United States Military Academy and American Military University Alumni. Victor covers flash military, intelligence, and geo-political updates.

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