The Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has strongly condemned the attack by the Rwandan army on its fighter plane in Congolese airspace, saying it will not be threatened.
“The Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo strongly condemns and denounces the attack on one of its Sukhoi-25 aircraft by the Rwandan army on 24 January 2023 at around 17.00 in Goma, the capital of North Kivu province,” the government said in a statement.
This fighter jet was attacked as it was landing on the runway of Goma lnternational Airport.
DRC says the Rwandan shooting was directed at a Congolese aircraft flying inside Congolese territory. “In no circumstances did it fly over Rwandan airspace. The plane landed without major material damage.”
Tension between the two countries has escalated since fighting resumed between M23 rebels and DRC government troops in North Kivu.
The DRC accuses Rwanda of backing M23 rebels, while Rwanda denies the charge.
“This attack compounds that of the offensive launched this morning by the Rwandan army towards Kitchanga and immediately repelled by the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC). Meanwhile, columns of Rwandan army soldiers have been observed entering from Rwanda to reinforce positions in Kibumba and Bvito, in preparation for other criminal actions,” the statement adds.
The Congolese government considers this umpteenth attack by Rwanda as a deliberate act of aggression which amounts to an act of war, with the sole aim of sabotaging the ongoing efforts to implement the actions agreed upon in the framework of the Luanda and Nairobi processes for the restoration of peace in the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo and in the Great Lakes region.
“Finally, despite being engaged in the various peace processes mentioned above, the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo rescues the right to defend its national territory and will not be threatened,” the government said.