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Rwanda has ’no problem’ being excluded from regional military force: President

Last month, East African Community leaders ratified formation of regional military force to secure peace in DR Congo

James Tasamba   | 04.07.2022
Rwanda has ’no problem’ being excluded from regional military force: President Rwandan President Paul Kagame ( FILE PHOTO - Anadolu Agency )

KIGALI, Rwanda

Rwanda does not mind being excluded from the East African regional military force set to be deployed in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the Rwandan president said on Monday.

Last month, East African Community (EAC) leaders ratified the formation of a regional military force whose mandate is to secure peace in DR Congo.

DR Congo welcomed the move but said it would not accept the involvement of Rwanda, which it accuses of backing M23 rebels that have intensified fighting against the Congolese army.

Speaking in an interview with the public broadcaster, Rwandan President Paul Kagame said: “I have no problem with that (exclusion). We are not begging anyone that we participate in the force.”

“If anybody’s coming from anywhere, excluding Rwanda, but will provide the solution that we’re all looking for, why would I have a problem,” he said.

Tensions between the two countries escalated in May after DR Congo accused Rwanda of backing M23 rebels in renewed fighting in the country’s eastern North Kivu province, a charge Rwanda has denied.

Rwanda has instead accused the Congolese army of allying with Rwandan rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), whose members are blamed for the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi ethnic group.

“It is not true,” Kagame said, when asked to comment on the claims that Rwanda backs M23 rebels, adding “on the contrary, DR Congo is supporting genocidal force FDLR.”

Amid tensions, there have been counter-accusations of rocket attacks on the shared border.

Last month, DR Congo said a rocket fired from Rwanda killed two children.

Kigali also accused the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo of firing rockets into Rwanda.

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