Rwanda Shoots Congolese Military Jet Over Airspace Violation

Rwanda Shoots at Congolese Military Jet Over Alleged Airspace Violation (News Central TV)

In response to a fighter plane from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) that Rwandan soldiers said had violated their airspace on Tuesday, the Congolese authorities accused Rwanda of committing an act of war.

A missile was shown in a video that went viral on Congolese social media shooting at an airborne military plane before exploding nearby while the plane continued to fly.

The latest argument between the two nations, whose relations have been strained by a rebel insurrection, was Congo’s denial of Rwanda’s claim that the jet had been in Rwandan airspace.

“The Rwandan shots were directed towards a Congolese aircraft flying within Congolese territory,” it said in a statement, confirming the plane had landed in the provincial capital Goma without suffering major damage.

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It described Rwanda’s move as a “deliberate act of aggression that amounts to an act of war” aimed at undermining a peace agreement to end an offensive by the M23 rebel group.

The jet allegedly breached Rwandan airspace in Rubavu, the same location as suspected earlier infractions, causing the government to “take defensive measures,” according to earlier statements from the Rwandan government.

“Rwanda asks the DRC to stop this aggression,” government spokesperson Yolande Makolo said in a statement.

Congo, The M23 in eastern Congo, which took control of many towns and villages during fresh combat last year, has been accused by United Nations experts and Western nations of having the support of Rwanda. A Rwandan official has denied involvement.

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In an effort to stop the bloodshed that has caused at least 450,000 people to flee their homes, regional authorities mediated a deal in November that called for the Tutsi-led force to leave recently captured locations by January 15.

Last Monday, Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi said that the rebels had not completely left certain districts.

Rwanda claimed that a second fighter plane from the Congo had briefly trespassed into its airspace in December.

In November, an unarmed Congolese warplane that was conducting a reconnaissance mission close to the border accidently made a brief landing at a Rwandan airstrip.

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