KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) — Rwanda’s military says a Congolese soldier crossed the border and began shooting at Rwandan security forces and civilians before being shot dead, the latest escalation in tensions between the countries.
A Rwanda Defense Force statement said the unidentified soldier crossed the border Friday morning in Rubavu district and injured two Rwandan police officers. The statement said a Rwanda National Police officer fired in self-defense and the Congolese soldier was killed.
The Rwandan statement said Congolese authorities have been informed and border officials from both countries were at the scene. Rwanda has asked that the incident be investigated by a body of military experts from regional states.
“The situation at the border is now calm,” Rwanda’s statement said.
A Congo government spokesman confirmed an “incident” but gave no details.
Decades-old tensions between Rwanda, which has one of Africa’s most effective militaries, and Congo, one of the continent’s largest and most troubled countries, have spiked along their shared border a few hours’ drive from Rwanda’s capital, Kigali. Alarm has reached the point where Kenya’s president is urging the immediate deployment of a newly created regional force to eastern Congo to keep the peace.
Each side has accused the other of incursions. Congo now seeks to suspend all agreements with Rwanda. If Rwanda wants war, “it will have war,” a spokesman for the military governor of Congo’s North Kivu province told thousands of protesters on Wednesday.