The Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) on Tuesday confirmed that Rwandan soldiers crossed into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) briefly while pursuing suspected armed smugglers.
The confirmation of the Monday, October 18 incident followed distorted reports that the Rwandan army crossed and occupied a territory in the northeastern part of vast neighbour to the east. Contrary to reports of an incursion, RDF said the soldiers unintendedly crossed into DRC for a few metres.
“On 18 Oct 2021, Rwanda security forces pursued smugglers who crossed the Rwanda-DRC border at Hehu Cell, Bugeshi Sector, Rubavu District. Rwandan law enforcement forces unintentionally crossed a few meters into the DRC while pursuing the smugglers who were carrying unidentified packages and believed to have been armed. The RDF and FARDC maintain good relations and continue to collaborate on security matters,” RDF said in a statement.
Similar incidents on either side of the border have happened in the past with no major incident reported. As routine, the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM), a process set up by the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) to monitor regional security incidents, investigates the incident and issues a report.