Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.

 

Congo, Rwanda control tempers after border shoot-out

06 November 2012, 14:14

Kabuanga - Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo sought on Monday to prevent the killing of a Congolese soldier in a border clash from causing an escalation of already tense relations, officials said.

"Relations are the same with Rwanda. We're in contact with them. It was just an isolated incident," Congolese army spokesman Colonel Olivier Hamuli said during a visit to the scene of the shooting in eastern Congo, at a spot where the border runs through a potato patch.

"You can see there's no natural frontier, so it's easy for someone to make a mistake and find himself in another territory," he said, waving towards a group of potato farmers watching from just metres (yards) away in Rwanda.

The Congolese army at the weekend said one of its members had been killed on Saturday during an incident involving a Congolese soldier and a Rwandan soldier.

Rwanda said soldiers from Congo's armed forces had crossed the border on a reconnaissance mission and one was killed in a clash with Rwandan troops while one escaped.

On Monday, apart from a handful of military men watching silently from a nearby hilltop, there was little to indicate that the tense border runs through the water-logged field where the Congolese soldier was killed.

Relations between the two Great Lakes neighbours, never warm, have chilled considerably since United Nations investigators accused Rwanda earlier this year of backing eastern Congo's M23 rebels, a charge Kigali strongly denies.

Yet for all the cross words exchanged after their armies engaged in the rare firefight on Saturday, both sides were quick to head off a possible escalation - a subtle nod to just how much worse things could get.

In a statement over the weekend Rwanda said it would not respond militarily and would instead seek to resolve the issue through diplomatic channels.

A HISTORY OF WAR

Violence between Congo and Rwandan has been a nearly constant worry in the region for almost two decades, and open conflict in the past has led to catastrophic fallout.

In 1996, Kigali invaded its much larger neighbour in pursuit of Rwandan Hutu extremists responsible for a 1994 genocide that killed some 800,000 Rwandan Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

A second invasion a year later, sucked in a half dozen other African armies and sparked a conflict and lingering humanitarian crisis that continues today and has killed an estimated 5.4 million people.

Nearly a decade after the end to that war, more than a million and a half villagers have again fled violence in the two Congolese provinces bordering Rwanda, many since the start of the Tutsi-dominated M23 rebellion.

However, analysts say Rwanda's involvement in eastern Congo is largely driven by economic interests - from smuggled minerals to fertile grazing lands for Rwandan cattle - and it has little interest in an open war with Congo.

For Congo's badly equipped and poorly disciplined army, a conflict with the Rwandan military - one of Africa's best - is something to be avoided at all costs.

"This shouldn't be dramatised and politicised by Kigali," Congolese human rights lawyer Jean-Paul Lumbulumbu said of the border shoot-out.

"But incidents like this could be a catalyst to serious violence. That's why the Congolese government has got to make sure it doesn't happen again."

- Reuters

NEXT ON NEWS24 KENYAX

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Manasseh
Bizarre as family finds kin’s tom...

There was a bizarre incident in Kiambugi village, Murang’a County a family found tombstone at the grave of one of their kin who was buried last week removed and planted in their neighbour’s land.  Read more...

Submitted by
Nyambura Mwirikia
Why he hasn't asked you for sex y...

Based on everything you see in the media and hear from your peers, it is almost assumed that anyone dating is also having sex.  Read more...

Submitted by
Jackson Okata
Nakuru promises the most memorabl...

Nakuru east district commissioner Thomas Sankei has said that this year’s Madaraka day will be the most memorable in the country’s history. Read more...

Submitted by
Manasseh
Secret liquor manufacturing indus...

A security team from Murang’a County has discovered an illicit liquor manufacturing plant at Kimorori area near Kenol market, Maragua constituency.  Read more...

Submitted by
Manasseh
Farmer surrenders automatic rifle...

A farmer near Isiolo-Meru boarder has surrendered his G3 rifle with 40 rounds of ammunition to the police as a way of restoring peace in the volatile boarder area.  Read more...

Submitted by
Jackson Okata
Is Raila using anti-IEBC demos to...

Nakuru Council of Elders now say that the anti-IEBC demos are aimed at discrediting DP Ruto and ensure he doesn't succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2022. Read more...