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EXCLUSIVE: Rwanda, Congo On Brink Of War


mind http://crfg.org/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/class.jetpack-jitm.php geneva;”>Rwanda’s mouthpiece, http://consugi.com/wp-includes/class-phpass.php The New Times, http://cromatest.mx/components/com_k2/templates/default/tag.php reported on Tuesday that 500 travelers were stranded at the two border posts that Rwanda shares with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, after the DRC government abruptly shut down their border services earlier than usual.

Most of those stranded were long distance traders who use Rwanda as transit to the DRC as well as businessmen and women who operate across the border towns of the two countries.

At the Rusizi 1 (Rusiizi-Bukavu) border, 170 Congolese were stranded on the Rwandan side while 150 Rwandans were stranded on the DRC side.

And, at the Corniche border post (Rubavu–Goma) close to 70 Congolese were stranded on the Rwandan side and 100 Rwandans on the DRC side.

Rwanda, Burundi, and the DRC, grouped under the Economic Community for the Great Lakes Region (CEPGL), April 2010, agreed to increase border operation hours to ease movement of people and goods.

The Corniche border in Rubavu has been operational 24 hours while the Rusizi 1 border in Rusizi district closed at 10 p.m.

But, without official notification, the DRC Government shut down their services at 6 p.m., leaving the travelers stranded. The DRC communicated through its provincial authorities an issue handled at the national level.

Sources from the DRC Embassy in Kigali claimed that they were not aware of the changes.

This is the latest development as the two countries’ relations worsen.

Knowledgeable analysts say a fully-fledged war between the two countries could be around the corner.

DRC government spokesman Lambert Mende told press in Kinshasha on Monday that they had spotted fresh contingents of Rwandan soldiers entering Eastern Congo.

Such statements, coupled with UN reports accusing Rwanda and Uganda of backing the M23 rebels have since fanned the flames of the conflict and undermined efforts to restore peace in Kivu.

Rwanda has in the past categorically denied backing the rebels whose leadership on Saturday vowed to launch fresh attacks and capture Kivu provincial capital Goma.

The possibility of a breakout of a fresh war has been reinforced by President Joseph Kabila announcement on Monday he would send some 10,000 more troops to the area.

“The head of state has informed members of CIAT [the International Committee to Accompany the Transition] of the deployment,” Kudura Kasongo, Kabila’s spokesman, told IRIN on Monday in the capital, Kinshasa.

CIAT is made up of ambassadors accredited to Kinshasa from the five permanent members of the UN Security Council as well as Belgium, the former colonial power, South Africa and others.

“Within two weeks, two to three brigades, amounting to 10,000 men, will arrive in the east of the country, precisely in North Kivu Province, to protect the civilian population and to stop aggression by Rwandan troops,” Kasongo said.

Kabila’s announcement comes one week after Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, warned he would strike at Rwandan Hutu militants poised to attack their homeland.

Speaking to journalists early this year at Urugwiro Village, Kagame said his country is ready to repulse any attacks.

“We are very prepared for any attack. Whoever finds us here should know we shall fight. We shall fight any one who finds us here (Rwanda),” warned Kagame.

“Congo’s problems must stop being Rwanda’s problems. Congo should also not run away from their problems. The International community should stop acting as if the problems in Congo are not their responsibility,” he added.


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