Leaders of Rwanda, DRC to meet in Angola amid rising tensions

·1 min read
AFP - GUERCHOM NDEBO

Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi is due to meet with his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame in Angola amid increasing hostility between the neighboring countries.

This Wednesday, the two leaders are to discuss bilateral relations and the armed conflict in eastern DRC, where last month M23 rebels captured a town near the Uganda border.

Congolese officials maintain that the M23 is backed by Rwanda and have accused the much smaller neighbor of occupying Congolese territory.

DRC government spokesman Patrick Muyaya confirmed the pair would be discussing "Rwanda’s aggression in Congo”.

When asked whether Kinshasa still believes Rwandan troops were fighting alongside M23 rebels in in the east of the country Muyaya replied: "That is obvious."

AU diplomacy, EAC peacekeeping

Rwanda has long denied supporting M23, disputing the accounts of conflict observers, UN experts and others.

M23 is made up mostly of ethnic Tutsi fighters from Congo who say their government hasn’t honored past commitments to reintegrate them into the national army.

Today's meeting comes after the African Union asked Angolan President João Lourenço to mediate the DRC-Rwanda dispute.

Kagame had harsh words for Congolese authorities in televised remarks on Monday, accusing Kinshasa of backing a different rebel group that included fighters accused of taking part in Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

The DRC has continuously denied supporting the group commonly known by its initials as FDLR.

Regional leaders within the East African Community — which the DRCongo recently joined — are working towards deploying a peacekeeping force in eastern Congo’s restive Kivu and Ituri provinces.

It remains unclear, however, when the force authorised to disarm insurgents will be deployed.

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