The Rwandan army has said it is not involved in the recent fighting in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), linked to former M23 rebels who reportedly escaped from their camp inside Uganda.
Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) in a statement on Tuesday morning said the Rwandan military is not involved in M23 attack in DRC and nor does it support the rebels.
“The Rwanda Defence Force is neither involved in nor supports any activities of the ex-M23 armed group. It has been reported that an armed group believed to be ex-M23 rebels, on Sunday evening 7 November 2021, crossed into DRC from Ugandan territory where it is based, and attacked and occupied the villages of Tshanzu and Runyoni,”
“The ex-M23 group in question did not seek refuge in Rwanda during their retreat from DRC in 2013, but has been based in Uganda, from where this attack originated, and to where the armed group retreated.” the military statement reads.
“Any reports, in the media or by officials in the region, that the ex-M23 armed group originated from or retreated to Rwanda, is propaganda aimed at undermining the good relations between Rwanda and DRC.” it added.
Gunmen seized at least two villages overnight near the border with Uganda and Rwanda. On Monday, Lieutenant-Colonel Muhindo Luanzo, assistant to the administrator of Rutshuru Territory, blamed the attack on fighters from M23, a rebel group that nearly captured the Eastern part of the country in 2012 and 2013.
The two villages were the last stand of M23 in 2013 before the rebels retreated to Uganda following a joint action by the Congolese Government forces FARDC and a United Nations Standby brigade.
Thousands of people have fled the affected areas of DRC, entering Uganda, fearing major fighting could break out. Uganda authorities said they were investigating what exactly happened. Former M23 rebel leader, Gen. Sultan Makenga, is among those reported to have fled from the camp in Western Uganda.