DR Congo leader: No doubt Rwanda is backing rebels

Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi has said “there’s no doubt” that Rwanda supported M23 rebels in clashes in the east of his country that have displaced tens of thousands.

Rwanda has consistently denied accusations of backing the rebels.

On Monday, there was renewed fighting between the Congolese army and the rebels in Rutshuru area.

According to an M23 spokesperson, the army started bombarding their positions in Jomba area early in the morning.

Tshisekedi’s claims on Rwanda’s meddling were his first in recent times as tension continue to rise between the neighbours. The president spoke on Sunday after visiting neighbouring Congo-Brazzaville where he met his counterpart Denis Sassou Nguesso.

He emphasised that although he wanted peace with Rwanda, DR Congo’s neighbours “should not mistake our desire for peace with weakness”.

“I hope that Rwanda has learned this lesson because today, it’s clear. There is no doubt Rwanda has supported the M23 to come and attack the DRC,” he said.

A Rwandan spokesperson said this “is an internal crisis that Rwanda is not involved in”.

Last Monday, M23 rebels retreated from areas it had captured in the Congolese province of North Kivu. However, on Friday, it warned that the army was planning renewed attacks against its positions.

In May, nearly 100,000 people fled their homes as the army clashed with the rebels near Goma town, the provincial capital.

Angola’s President Joao Lourenco is organising a summit between President Tshisekedi and Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame to ease the tensions, said his office last week.

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