Congolese fighter jet violates Rwandan airspace

AA / Kimchasa / Pascal Mulegua

The Rwandan government protested, on Monday, against a fighter plane violating its airspace from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on Sunday, amid tensions between Kinshasa and Kigali.

A Sukhoi-25 fighter jet from the Democratic Republic of the Congo violated Rwandan airspace at 11:20 am today. [dimanche, NDLR] It landed briefly at Rubavu Airport in Western Province,” said a statement issued by the Rwandan government spokesperson.

The same source notes that “Rwanda did not take any military action in response, and the plane returned to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”

The statement said that the Rwandan authorities “protested this provocation to the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has acknowledged the incident.” The plane landed at Goma International Airport.

Tensions between the two countries resurfaced following the resurgence of the March 23rd Movement (M23 movement), which Kinshasa accused since the beginning of the year of supporting Rwanda.

Congolese authorities say they have observed “a massive arrival of elements of the Rwandan army” in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to support the M23 rebels.

After months of tension and accusations of “aggression”, Kinshasa decided at the end of October to expel the Rwandan ambassador in Kinshasa, after 5 months of banning Rwandan flights in the country.

The international community has called for the resumption of dialogue in order to stop the escalation.

The M23 was defeated in 2013 by the Congolese army and the Blue Helmets, and gained ground again at the end of 2021, capturing three particularly important cities, Bunagana, Kiwanga and Rutshuru- Central 70 km from Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, on the border with Rwanda and Uganda.

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The United Nations Mission in the country (MONUSCO) announced that it had “raised the alert level of its forces deployed to support the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in their operations against the March 23 Movement”.

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