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"Rwanda Reports Killing of Congolese Soldier, Arrests Two More Amid Border Tensions"
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A Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) soldier was killed in the country’s eastern region on Friday in a shootout at a border post with Rwanda, according to police. Rwanda, in turn, reported that two of its soldiers were wounded in the incident.

The exchange of fire occurred at a border post in the eastern Congolese city of Goma, coinciding with rising tension between the neighboring countries.

According to a Congolese policeman present at the scene, the confrontation began when a Congolese soldier advanced and opened fire toward the Rwandan border. In response, a Rwandan soldier returned fire, resulting in the death of the Congolese soldier. The skirmish also caused injuries to some civilians waiting to cross the border.

Rwanda’s army confirmed the incident, stating that a Congolese soldier had crossed the border and initiated gunfire, injuring two Rwandan soldiers. The statement indicated that the Congolese soldier was shot dead inside Rwandan territory.

Later, the body of the Congolese soldier was repatriated to DR Congo, where it was received by a supportive crowd.

Observers from the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) briefly met with officials from both countries at the border. Congolese police prevented a group of demonstrators from approaching the border post, as they protested against Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

The ongoing conflict between Congolese troops and the M23 rebel movement has heightened tensions between the two nations. The DR Congo government has accused Rwanda of backing the rebels, an allegation repeatedly denied by the Rwandan government.

The M23 is a predominantly Congolese Tutsi militia group that gained global attention in 2012 when it briefly seized control of Goma before being ousted by UN forces and the Congolese army. After a period of dormancy, the group resumed fighting in 2021, citing the government’s failure to fulfill a 2009 agreement to integrate its fighters into the army.

In March, clashes intensified, leading to mass displacement. Recently, M23 fighters captured the strategic town of Bunagana on the Ugandan border.

Relations between Kinshasa and Kigali have been strained since the influx of Rwandan Hutus accused of genocide against Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994.

Piers Potter

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