Military Experts Probe DRC-Rwanda Military Clashes


cure geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 150%;”>The Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM) toured Busasamana Sector in Rwanda which was Wednesday attacked by elements of the Congolese army known by its French acronym FARDC.

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The Mechanism is a technical body, comprising military experts from both DRC and Rwanda, and supported by the African Union and the UN, to address DRC-Rwanda border security issues, amongst other tasks.

From Rwanda villages, the team, which also comprised journalists and military attaches, also crossed to DRC side where 5 bodies of Congolese soldiers were found.

The EVJM findings will be communicated to regional governments, United Nations and African Union for further management.

The Rwandan government on Wednesday sternly warned it “stands ready to act to protect its citizens,” following attacks by the DRC forces.

In a strong-worded statement, Rwanda Foreign Affairs Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo said “a series of actions by the DRC continue to undermine regional efforts towards peace,” adding, “The DRC government should take care not to cultivate unnecessary provocation and stop its soldiers from repeatedly crossing into the Rwandan villages.”

Rwanda revealed that on Wednesday morning in Rusura cell in the sector of Busasamana, a section of the DRC army crossed the border to Rwanda where they opened fired on a Rwanda Defense Force (RDF) patrol.

“The RDF retaliated and the resulting exchange of fire killed one FARDC soldier identified as Hategekimana Boysiro. The RDF immediately requested the Extended Joint Verification Mechanism for an independent assessment but their access to the site was denied by DRC authorities.”

The Government also pointed out that the “morning attacks were followed by a second attempt by two FARDC platoons to deploy into Rwanda that resulted in further exchange of fire leaving four FARDC soldiers dead.” DRC army spokesperson, Olivier Hamuli denied accusations that FARDC attacked Rwanda.

“RDF soldiers attacked our positions in Kanyesheja around 5:00am which compelled FARDC to react accordingly,” said Hamuli.

The joint verification team dispatched a team of senior military analysts who will interview eyewitnesses, including village chiefs, local elders and residents.

FDLR Links

Previous EVJM reports have pinned DRC of provoking Rwanda for military action.

It is reported Congolese troops are co-located with the genocidal FDLR, a phenomenon observers interpreted to mean that the two sides are actually collaborating.

The EJVM team was formed to investigate and verify allegations and counter-allegations of hostilities along the troubled frontier, including verifying claims that Rwanda and DRC were supporting rebels opposed to each other’s government.

This was intended to help restore confidence among regional states and to create favourable conditions for a peaceful resolution of the endemic crises in eastern DRC, which have over the years strained relations tensions between DRC and its more stable neighbours, who accuse the former of harbouring negative elements.

A smaller version of this framework existed earlier between Rwanda and DRC, and it had been hoped that expanding it to all the 12 member states of the ICGLR would make its findings more credible and acceptable to all the various actors in eastern Congo.

But the ICGLR joint verification mechanism also linked the Congolese army to several dreaded militia groups in the country’s east, including Mai-Mai Nyatura, Mai-Mai Shetani and APCLs, who all share extreme hatred and have committed atrocities against perceived Tutsi communities in the Congo.

Martin Kobler, Head of MONUSCO, expressed concern about the clashes, urging both sides to defuse the tension and to refrain from any act of violence. He also deplored the loss of life during this incident.

“I call on both parties to calm and urge them to urgently take the necessary measures to restore security in the border area. MONUSCO fully supports the initiative to use the joint verification mechanism extended to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances of this incident. I also encourage both sides to re-engage in the peaceful resolution of issues related to border demarcation,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations in the DRC.

MONUSCO has been repeatedly accused of not taking adequate steps to put an end to the FDLR threat.

While UN was swift at bombing ADF and M23 bases in line with its mandate of crushing all rebel groups in mineral-rich Eastern Congo, the FDLR remain active and training near the Rwandan border.


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