The attack on its fighter plane by the Rwandan army in Congolese airspace has been vehemently criticized and denounced by the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Tuesday, January 24, 2023, about 5:00 p.m. in Goma, the capital of the province of North Kivu: “We strongly condemn and reject the strike of one of our Sukhoi-25 aircraft by the Rwandan army.”
The statement claims that the fighter plane was assaulted as it was starting to touch down at Goma International Airport.
“A Congolese aircraft that was flying within the borders of the Congo was the target of the Rwandan firing. It never crossed the airspace above Rwanda. The plane landed safely with no significant material damage.
According to Kinshasa, the onslaught was in addition to the Rwandan army’s earlier-in-the-day operation against Kitchanga, which was swiftly repulsed by the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC).
In the meantime, columns of Rwandan army men are seen leaving Rwanda to bolster Kibumba and Bwito’s strongholds in preparation for additional criminal activity.
President Felix Tshisekedi’s administration declared that it views Rwanda’s latest attack as “a deliberate act of aggression that amounts to an act of war with the sole objective of sabotaging the ongoing efforts in implementation of the actions agreed upon within the framework of the Luanda and Nairobi for the restoration of peace in the East of the country.”
In addition, the government draws attention to the urgent need for the international community to continue applying pressure to Rwanda and the M23 terrorist movement to stop the violence that could jeopardize these operations in this election year, a few days before the start of voter registration operations in the country’s Center and East.
The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has stated that despite participating in the different peace processes indicated above, it reserves the right to protect its national territory.
On January 9, 2023, at the swearing-in ceremony for the new Rwanda Senate president, President Kagame made a public statement regarding the presence of mercenaries in the Congo.
The Paul Kagame administration said last week in a statement that Kinshasa had brought in mercenaries to help in its fight against the M23.
The following day, M23 reiterated the government-provided mercenaries’ presence in a different statement.
Analysts claim that if it is proven that the Russian mercenary group Wagner Group has built a base in the DR Congo, Kigali would be justified in its actions.
The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the East African Community (EAC) are regional blocs working to resolve the issue, and The East African claimed that the move could make things more complicated.
Additionally, it gives Kigali evidence to refute Kinshasa’s claims that it supports the rebels because Congo has demanded that all foreign armed groups leave its eastern region.
“The DRC’s hiring of foreign mercenaries is a blatant sign that it is gearing up for war rather than peace, The full disrespect of the Luanda decision to “examine and settle the question of the return of refugees to their countries of origin” is of special concern to Rwanda.
’ Over 75,000 Congolese refugees are still being hosted in Rwanda, and more are arriving every day as a result of the ongoing persecution and insecurity in the eastern DRC.
The DRC administration has not addressed the refugees’ plight and has not taken any steps to ensure their safe return to the country, according to a statement from Rwanda.