Rwanda fires at DR Congo army jet

By Rek Hanibal Published on January 25, 2023
Rwanda fires at DR Congo army jet

Rwanda's government said it took "defensive measures" against a plane that had violated its airspace - a claim denied by DR Congo.

Although the plane landed safely, this is a significant escalation following months of conflict in DR Congo, which has forced 400,000 people from their homes.

DR Congo, the US and UN experts accuse Rwanda of backing the M23 rebel group.

Rwanda has denied this and blames the Congolese government for the unrest in mineral-rich eastern DR Congo.

In the 1990s, Rwanda twice sent troops to its much larger neighbour, sparking a colossal conflict involving at least nine countries that led to the death of millions of people.

Images shared on social media show a Sukhoi-25 aircraft being shot at while flying at a low altitude between Goma in DR Congo and Gisenyi in Rwanda, which straddles their shared border.

Other images show water being used to put out a fire on the plane's right wing after it landed at Goma airport. DR Congo says the aircraft suffered no "major material damage".

In a statement, DR Congo's government accused Rwanda of "sabotaging" the implementation of a recent peace process agreed upon by the opposing sides in recent talks.

The Information Ministry said DR Congo "reserves the right to defend its national territory and will not be threatened".

"The government considers this umpteenth attack by Rwanda as a deliberate action," the ministry said.

However, Rwanda said this was the third incident involving a Congolese fighter jet in its airspace and asked its neighbour "to stop this aggression".

Last November, another Congolese Sukhoi-25 jet briefly landed at Gisenyi airport in Rwanda. Kinshasa said the fighter jet had "mistakenly landed" there.

Rek Hanibal

Rek Hanibal

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