Why are tensions flaring up between the DRC and Rwanda?
The Hundred #21: July 22, 2022
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“Tensions between Rwanda and the DRC stem from an unresolved crisis that followed the 1994 Rwandan genocide, when Hutu génocidaires moved to Kivu in the DRC after Paul Kagame’s takeover. This presence is seen as a threat by Kigali, and Rwanda has been trying to exert a security influence in the DRC, with the support of local Tutsi. To complicate matters, tensions have arisen between Tutsi and other Congolese ethnic groups. Congolese Tutsi claim their own territories and feel discriminated against in the army, which led to the creation of the RCD-Goma, CNDP, and M23 rebellions, supported by Rwanda.”
“Congolese President Tshisekedi’s November 2021 decision to allow Uganda and Burundi to deploy troops to fight rebel groups in DRC has marginalised Rwandan President Kagame. Rwanda is keen to target the FDLR, a remnant of the Hutu militia responsible for the 1994 genocide. But because of Rwanda’s violent past in the DRC, Tshisekedi is unlikely to accept Rwandan troop deployment. The return of the M23 militia, which stepped up its attacks against the Congolese army, has further raised tensions. Tshisekedi accuses Rwanda of backing M23, and Kagame alleges that the DRC uses the FDLR in its fight against it.”
“Rwanda has twice invaded the DRC and has maintained a covert military and economic presence since it officially withdrew in 2003. Although relations seemed to improve after Félix Tshisekedi became DRC President in 2019, they soured again when the M23 Congolese rebel movement resumed operations in early 2022 with suspected Rwandan support. This evolution must be seen in a wider regional geopolitical context, where Rwanda and Uganda maintain ambiguous relations. The conflict between them in part plays out in the DRC, with Uganda being militarily active in eastern Congo and investing in critical infrastructure there, which Rwanda considers a threat.”
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