29 August 2013

Congo-Kinshasa: Rwanda Accuses DRC of Firing Across Border

Photo: Les Neuhaus/IRIN
A UN armored-personnel carrier glides by a Congolese woman just south of the flashpoint village of Rutshuru, which lies roughly 65 km north of the provincial city of Goma (file photo).

The government of Rwanda has accused Democratic Republic of Congo forces of shelling Rwandan territory.

Rwanda said Thursday that more than 30 bombs and rockets have been fired across the border in the last week by the DRC military. It said one bomb fired Thursday morning killed a woman and seriously injured her two-month-old baby in the town of Rubavu.

In a statement, it accused Congo of trying to draw Rwanda into the conflict between the DRC army and M23 rebels in the city of Goma, which sits on the Congolese-Rwandan border.

Congo and a group of United Nations experts have accused Rwanda of supporting M23, an allegation Rwanda denies.

The U.N. peacekeeping force in Congo, MONUSCO, said there was new fighting Thursday between DRC forces and M23 in Kibati, north of Goma.

U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said the U.N. force is supporting the DRC army in what he called an operation to end M23's shelling of populated areas.

"The U.N. force continues to support this operations including with the use of artillery and attack helicopters."

On Wednesday, a U.N. peacekeeper from Tanzania was killed in clashes with M23.

Haq said members of the U.N. Security Council held discussions on the DRC Thursday.

The United Nations, which has a large peacekeeping operation in Congo, recently deployed a 3,000-member "Intervention Brigade" to fight rebel groups in the east and help stabilize the volatile region.

M23 briefly took control of Goma last year and still controls parts of North Kivu province.

The group is made up of former rebels who were integrated into the Congolese army in a 2009 peace agreement, but later deserted after complaining of discrimination and poor treatment.

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