The Rwandan army say they killed three soldiers of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) after Congo troops attacked its army position in northern Rwandan district of Musanze.
Eugene Nkubito, Commander of Rwanda Defence Force’s Second Division told journalists in Musanze on Thursday that Congolese troops attacked Rwanda army in Iterambere village, northern Rwandan district of Musanze on Tuesday morning and three were killed before the attackers were repelled.
He said RDF leadership had tasked experts from the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM), a team under the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) to investigate circumstances under which DRC forces attacked the RDF base inside Rwanda.
“RDF has just briefed experts from Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism on facts of FARDC violation of Rwanda territory and attack on RDF position in Musanze District,” Rwanda army said.
Both countries have accused each other of violating territorial border, with Congolese army saying on Wednesday that Rwandan soldiers launched an incursion inside Congo territory.
Congolese army spokesperson in North Kivu Major Djike Guillaum told SoftPower News on Wednesday that there was heavy fighting between the FARDC and Rwandan troops at the foot of Mount Nikeno in the province of North Kivu “on Congolese soil”.
Major Guillaum said both countries had suffered casualties. “There were deaths and injuries on both sides during the fight before the two countries declared a ceasefire,” Ndjike said.
He said the Congolese army initially thought they were fighting ex-M23 militia members, before realizing it was the Rwandan army.
Rwanda and DRC have long had a fractious relationship since the 1994 Rwandan genocide in which an estimated 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were butchered.
Rwanda says some of those accused of perpetrating the killings have since set up militias in eastern DRC with intentions to destabilize Rwanda.
On its part, DRC accuses the Kigali administration of backing M23, a mainly ethnic Tutsi rebel group that emerged during the same period. M23 militia rebelled against the DRC in 2012, saying a peace accord signed in 2009 had not been respected by the government.
On Wednesday, Rwanda’s army spokesperson Lt Col Innocent Munyengango denied its troops crossed into Congo.
In 2014, Rwandan army blamed the FARDC for firing a rocket on its territory in Rubavu district, Western Province.
Rwanda has said it previously had sent troops inside Congo in pursuit of rebels of Democratic Forces of the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a group that includes people accused of participating in Rwanda genocide.