Rwanda's President Paul Kagame speaks during an interview with international media at the presidency office in Kigali, on May 28, 2021. (Photo by Simon Wohlfahrt / AFP)

Shellfire: Rwanda will fight back if Congo attacks — Minister

Rwanda Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said the country will retaliate if it suffers further attacks from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta told reporters after accusing Congo of firing shells across the border in May.

“If attacks continue we will not sit idly by, Rwanda will have the right to respond to protect the security of the country, to protect the security of its citizens and we have the means to do that.’’

Congo summoned Rwanda’s ambassador and suspended RwandAir flights to Congo over the weekend in response to what it said was Kigali’s support for M23 rebels carrying out a military offensive in its eastern borderlands.

Rwanda denies the claims and has in turn accused Congo’s army of fighting alongside the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), an armed group founded by ethnic Hutus who fled Rwanda after participating in the 1994 genocide.

Biruta said FDLR fighters were among the ranks of Congo’s army when their shells allegedly destroyed houses and injured people on the Rwandan side of the border.

Congo government spokesman Patrick Muyaya told Reuters that “their discourse on the FDLR no longer makes sense.’’

“They cannot say that they are victims of the FDLR. The FDLR are killing our people, not the Rwandan people; it is we who suffer.

The clashes threaten to unravel relations between the two countries, which had improved since Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi came to power three years ago.

The M23 insurgency stems from the long fallout from the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

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