Sun. May 19th, 2024

The United States leveled accusations against Rwanda for its alleged role in a fatal assault on a displaced persons’ camp in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a charge promptly refuted as “absurd” by Kigali on Saturday.

Local sources reported that at least nine individuals perished in explosions on Friday at the camp situated on the outskirts of Goma city.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller condemned the attack, attributing it to Rwanda Defense Forces and M23 positions. He expressed grave concern over the growing presence of Rwandan forces and the M23, a predominantly Tutsi group that renewed its armed activities in the volatile DRC in 2021.

Rwandan government spokesperson Yolande Makolo dismissed the US allegations as “ridiculous,” asserting that the Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) would not target an internally displaced persons’ camp. Instead, she pointed to other armed groups, such as the FDLR and Wazalendo, allegedly supported by the Congolese armed forces, as potential perpetrators.

The FDLR, an ethnic Hutu militia operating in eastern Congo for three decades, and Wazalendo, collaborating with the Congolese army against the M23, were cited in relation to the incident.

The exact cause of the Friday blasts remains uncertain. Witnesses reported Congolese government forces bombarding rebels near the camp, prompting retaliation from the M23.

The US has previously echoed Kinshasa’s claims of Rwandan support for the M23. France’s President Emmanuel Macron also urged Rwanda to cease backing the M23 rebels and withdraw its troops from Congolese territory.

In response, Rwandan President Paul Kagame demanded that the DRC address Hutu forces’ ties to perpetrators of Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, which primarily targeted Tutsis.

Efforts to mitigate tensions between the two nations have been ongoing. The US, through intelligence chief Avril Haines, proposed a pathway to de-escalate tensions during visits to DR Congo and Rwanda in November. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also engaged with Kagame, expressing optimism for diplomatic engagement.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *