President Paul Kagame stated on Monday that Rwanda can no longer provide asylum to refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, inflaming already high tensions between the central African neighbours.
“We cannot keep hosting refugees,” from DRC, Rwanda President Paul Kagame told the upper house of parliament in the capital Kigali.
“This is not Rwanda’s problem. And we are going to ensure that everybody realises that it is not Rwanda’s problem,” he vowed.
“I am refusing that Rwanda should carry this burden,” he said.
The UN said in November that over 72,000 DRC citizens had entered Rwanda. Federal troops and the M23 rebel organisation, which has amassed significant territory, are engaged in ongoing battle in the east of the mineral-rich Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Although Kigali disputes the claim, the DRC, along with the US and several other European nations, has consistently accused Rwanda of supporting the Tutsi-led rebels from M23.
Numerous people have fled the fighting into other countries, particularly Rwanda, as tensions have risen.
Kinshasa has been held responsible for the crisis, according to Kigali, and the international community has been accused of turning a blind eye to the DR Congo’s alleged support for the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a rebel group made up primarily of Rwandan Hutus that is believed to have participated in the 1994 genocide of Tutsis. As a result of the FDLR, Kigali defends its incursions into the DRC.
Rwanda has also accused the DRC of manipulating the crisis for political gain and of “fabricating” a massacre in November that claimed at least 131 civilian lives. Presidential elections are scheduled for the DRC in December. A UN investigation determined that M23 militants were to accountable for the deaths.
The violence has so far not been stopped despite a fragile ceasefire and the deployment of Kenyan military through the East African Community (EAC).
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