Already high tensions between Kigali and Kinshasa have risen sharply after Rwanda’s defence forces shot at a Congolese warplane they accuse of violating Rwandan airspace. In this Q&A, Crisis Group examines why the situation has deteriorated and outlines pathways toward de-escalation.
Washington sanctioned Rwandan and Congolese individuals for alleged role in eastern DR Congo (DRC) conflict; President Kagame reshuffled military positions.
U.S. sanctioned individuals for contributing to eastern DRC conflict. U.S. Sec State Antony Blinken 15 Aug held phone call with Kagame to discuss security crisis involving Rwanda-backed M23 rebels in eastern DRC; Blinken reportedly renewed call for “diplomatic solution to the tensions” between Kinshasa and Kigali and “for each side to take measures to de-escalate the situation”. Meanwhile, U.S. treasury 24 Aug placed sanctions on six individuals for their alleged role in eastern DRC conflict, including one Rwandan and one Congolese senior army officers, one M23 deputy commander, and three Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda militia leaders.
Kagame announced major changes in security forces. Hours after coup in Gabon, Kagame 30 Aug retired 12 army generals, including old guard members, and dozens of other senior military officers; also promoted several young officers to rank of colonel and designated new generals to lead military divisions.
Rwanda has become a major player in the Central African Republic, helping the government fight insurgents, supporting state reforms and investing in numerous businesses. This engagement has rewards but also comes with risks. Bangui and Kigali should act now to minimise the latter.
This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood speaks with Richard Moncrieff, Crisis Group’s interim Great Lakes project director, about an incident in which Rwanda's army shot at a Congolese fighter jet, raising fears that tensions between Kinshasa and Kigali could boil over.
Fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is intensifying, with Ugandan and Burundian soldiers in pursuit of rebels and Congolese insurgents on the rebound. With help from its allies, Kinshasa should step up diplomacy lest the country become a regional battleground once more.
This week on Hold Your Fire! Richard Atwood talks to Great Lakes expert Nelleke van de Walle about the escalation of violence in the eastern DR Congo, as Uganda and Burundi deploy troops to fight rebels in the area and Rwanda threatens to do the same.
President Tshisekedi’s plans for joint operations with DR Congo’s belligerent eastern neighbours against its rebels risks regional proxy warfare. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2020 for European policymakers, Crisis Group urges the EU to encourage diplomatic efforts in the region and Tshisekedi to shelve his plan for the joint operations.
Three Great Lakes states – Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda – are trading charges of subversion, each accusing another of sponsoring rebels based in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. Outside powers should help the Congolese president resolve these tensions, lest a lethal multi-sided melee ensue.
Testimony by Mark L. Schneider, Senior Vice President, International Crisis Group to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights on “Examining the Role of Rwanda in the DRC Insurgency”.
Receive the best source of conflict analysis right in your inbox.