The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Tuesday denounced Rwanda’s accusation that a Congolese fighter jet violated Rwandan airspace, alleging the plane was attacked by Rwandan forces in an “act of aggression deliberate action which amounts to an act of war”.
The Rwandan government’s communications office released a statement on Twitter on Tuesday which said: “Today at 5:03 p.m., a DR Congo Sukhoi-25 violated Rwandan airspace for the third time. Defensive measures have been taken. Rwanda calls on the DRC to stop this aggression.
The Congolese government later issued a statement disputing Kigali’s version of events, alleging that the plane was “attacked as it began its landing on the runway at Goma International Airport”.
“The Rwandan fire was directed against a Congolese aircraft, flying inside Congolese territory. It did not fly over Rwandan airspace. The aircraft landed without major material damage.
He continues to say that “the government considers this umpteenth attack by Rwanda as a deliberate act of aggression which amounts to an act of war” with the “sole objective of sabotaging” the ongoing efforts to restore peace in eastern Rwanda. the DRC, where a rebel insurgency has fractured relations between the two countries.
CNN cannot independently verify either version of the events.
Video widely shared on Congolese social media showed a projectile firing at a military plane in flight, before exploding in the air near the plane, which continued to fly. CNN could not immediately verify the video.
Rwanda is accused by the Congolese government, the United Nations and Western allies of supporting the notorious armed rebel group M23 in its violent insurgency in eastern DRC, which Kigali denies.
Regional leaders brokered a deal in November under which the Tutsi-led group was to withdraw from recently seized positions by January 15 as part of efforts to end fighting that has displaced at least 450,000 people .
Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi said last week that the rebels had not completely withdrawn from these areas.
In December, Rwanda said another fighter jet from Congo briefly violated its airspace.
An unarmed Congolese warplane also briefly landed at a Rwandan airport in November during a reconnaissance mission near the border, in what Congo said was an accident.
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