17 February 2018

Rwanda: Probe Launched Into Attack By DR Congo Soldiers On Rwandan Territory

Military experts from the DR Congo-based Joint Verification Mechanism Friday launched an investigation into circumstances under which Congolese armed forces (FARDC) violated Rwanda's territorial integrity by launching an attack on a Rwanda Defence Force base inside Rwanda.

The probe by the mechanism, that is composed of officers from different countries in the region, was requested by RDF to establish the motive of the attack on their base in the Volcanoes area in Mugari Cell, Shingiro Sector in Musanze District.

The incident occurred on Tuesday morning, at around 7am, according to the RDF commander in the area, who says their Congolese counterparts attacked and started shooting at them before they returned fire.

Brig. Gen. Eugene Nkubito, the Commander of RDF Second Division, who on Thursday evening met the EJVM officers at his offices in Musanze District, said it was unfortunate that FARDC attacked them despite the prevailing cordial ties between the two countries.

He called upon the verification mechanism to immediately launch an investigation and come up with concrete findings about the attack as well as establish the motive behind it and propose recommendations on the way forward.

He said RDF officers on the ground had provided enough evidence to confirm the attack was carried out on Rwandan territory discrediting claims that the attack was masterminded by the Rwandan soldiers, adding that the mechanism should also provide the clear facts on who attacked who.

"We have had a meeting with EJVM and made a presentation about the incident, how it started and how the attack happened on the Rwandan territory. We showed them all the coordinates and told them our military base is there to protect the country because of FDLR soldiers who may invade from DR Congo," Nkubito said after the meeting.

FDLR is an outfit based in DR Congo that is mainly made up of elements that masterminded the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

Nkubito added that much as Rwanda was committed to enhance the existing cooperation with her neighbours, it would not allow such provocative military incursions on its territory.

He said that the region should work together to neutralise the different armed groups such as FDLR, CNRD and RUD.

The team of experts agreed to launch investigations to verify what happened on the ground.

Col Theophile Maviondo, from Congo Brazzaville, who headed the EJVM team, said they would start Friday by visiting the scene of crime to get first-hand information before they can come up with a report.

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