The president of the DRC warns of the danger of a war with Rwanda if Kigali maintains “its provocations”

The president of the DRC warns of the danger of a war with Rwanda if Kigali maintains "its provocations"

Tshisekedi stresses that “there is no doubt that Rwanda supports the M23” and stresses that Kinshasa “wants peace”

July 6. (EUROPA PRESS) –

The president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Félix Tshisekedi, warned this Wednesday of the danger of a war with Rwanda if Kigali maintains “its provocations”, amid a rise in tensions due to the alleged support of the Rwandan authorities to the rebel group March 23 Movement (M23).

“This possibility cannot be ruled out. If Rwanda’s provocations continue, we cannot sit by and do nothing. We are not weak,” the Congolese president said in an interview with the Financial Times newspaper.

Thus, he insisted that “there is no doubt that Rwanda supports the M23” and added that “if the pressure becomes a push, at some point measures will have to be taken”, although he stressed that Kinshasa “wants peace “.

“Rwanda is fighting in the DRC under the guise of the M23, which was defeated in 2013,” he said, while stressing that this is demonstrated by the capture of Rwandan soldiers on Congolese territory.

In this sense, Tshisekedi has emphasized that the rebound in M23 operations in recent months “is due to the Rwandan Army, which hides behind the group”, while accusing Kigali of wanting to take advantage of the riches DRC natives.

“Rwanda has illicit economic interests in the DRC. As long as order is not restored in the east of the country and as long as there is illegality and insecurity, Rwanda will take advantage of it,” he argued, before rejecting the accusations of his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame , about Congolese support for other rebel groups.

Kagame said on Monday that the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) — an armed rebel group founded and made up mainly of Hutus responsible for the 1994 genocide in the African country — receive support from the Congolese Army, although Tshisekedi has stressed that it is “a bad excuse” and has recalled that “hundreds” of members of the group have been arrested in recent months.

Lastly, he stressed that “there is hope” of avoiding a war “if there is sincerity.” “If Rwanda recognizes that it has supported the M23 and says why it supports this movement, it would be sincere. We can discuss it and put everything on the table,” he stressed, before stressing that a refusal in this regard would point to a “hidden agenda” by Kigali.

Kagame advocated on Monday to achieve “peace” with the DRC, although he acknowledged that he is preparing “for the worst” in case the diplomatic route is not successful. “I hope the best for DRC as I do for my country,” said Kagame, who insisted that “there is no magic solution, beyond presenting the facts.”

“It is up to all the actors involved in this problem, whether they are Congolese, Rwandan or international … to stick to the facts and find the best way out of this problem based on the facts, not on people who believe their own facts or think they can impose their solution on one side or the other,” he said, before arguing that “if Rwanda’s security concerns are not addressed, there is a problem.

Relations between the DRC and Rwanda have gone through moments of crisis since the massive arrival in eastern DRC of Rwandan Hutus accused of having massacred the Tutsis during the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. After a certain stage of diplomatic relaxation, the conflict regained intensity in May, when the Congolese government summoned the Rwandan ambassador to denounce the country’s alleged support for the M23.

The M23 has been accused since November 2021 of carrying out attacks against Army positions in North Kivu, despite the fact that the Congolese authorities and the M23 signed a peace agreement in December 2013 after the combats registered since 2012 with the Army, which was supported by United Nations troops. UN experts accused Uganda and Rwanda of supporting the rebels, although both countries denied this.

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