Tensions continue to escalate between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) despite the call for both countries to handle the situation amicably.
Few days after DRC expelled the neighbouring country’s envoy, Rwanda has reported that Congolese Army’s fighter jet Sukhoi-25 violated its airspace and briefly touched down at Rubavu Airport in Western Province.
Rwanda said that it did not respond militarily despite series of provocations from the neighbouring country over the past few months.
Since March this year, Rwanda accused Congolese Army (FARDC) bombarding its territory at different times in collaboration with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).
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FDLR is a terrorist group formed by individuals responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Rwanda also accused the coalition of kidnapping two soldiers of the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) who were on patrol along the border but were later released and sent back home through the mediation of Angola.
DRC has been accusing Rwanda of supporting M23 rebel group, a claim which the neighbouring country has repeatedly denied.
The violation of Rwanda’s airspace has been considered as a serious provocation to drag Rwanda into a war following recent revelations by Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi who alluded to his intentions to wage a war on Rwanda.
Isaïe Murashi, a historian and expert in politics who once served as Rwanda’s Ambassador to Uganda, has told IGIHE that the actions of DRC make up provocations of a war which they can hardly win.
“In diplomacy, expelling an ambassador signals deteriorated relations. This stage usually comes before discontinuing ties. We have not yet cut bilateral ties but it is apparently the next step, preceding an all-out war with an exchange of bullets,” he said.
M23 rebel group has captured different areas of North Kivu Province and continues to advance towards Goma, the largest town of the province.
The rebel group currently camps in 15 kilometers away from Goma.
Instead of repelling the enemy, Congolese politicians and citizens continue to push the government to wage a war on Rwanda over alleged support to M23.
Rwanda maintains that the fight between Congolese Army and M23 is an internal problem which should be addressed by DRC without playing blame games.
Last week, President Tshisekedi called for mass recruitment of the youth to reinforce his country’s army in a war against the enemy.
Murashi has observed that Tshisekedi’s reactions incite a war.
“This is the likely next stage considering the speeches of Tshisekedi, what is happening in Goma and the resistance of Congolese soldiers despite their defeat. […] Rwanda does not want a war against Congo. It advises the neighbouring country to solve internal problems even though they show no willingness and remain stuck in blame games,” he noted.
“Such arrogance and reluctance to friendly dialogue is on purpose. The purpose to fight,” added Murashi.
Murashi observed that DRC’s option for war can hardly materialize adding that it would not last long in case the country remains stubborn.
“A war will not materialize. It is their option but they won’t triumph because M23 is in the proximity of Goma making it the only place from where they can attack Rwanda. Where else will they manoeuver through? The war won’t come about. Even if it happens, it would not last long,” he said.