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.
UN experts found “solid evidence” of Rwandan military intervention in DR Congo. In confidential report leaked to the media on 4 Aug, UN experts said there was “solid evidence” that Rwandan troops have conducted military operations in eastern DR Congo in support of M23 rebels since Nov 2021. Kigali immediately denied accusations, while Kinshasa 5 Aug demanded Kigali take “responsibility for the instability” in eastern DR Congo. During visit to region, U.S. Sec State Antony Blinken 11 Aug met with President Kagame in capital Kigali and discussed “credible reports” indicating that Rwanda continues to support M23 rebels; Blinken same day said Kagame and Congolese President Tshisekedi had agreed to hold direct talks over fighting in eastern DR Congo.
The tensions between these two countries [DRC and Rwanda] could destabilise a region that’s already facing political instability.
What could be challenging is if Rwanda becomes involved on the military front [in Congo’s east].
Seeking the leadership of the Francophonie is clearly part of Rwanda's goal for a greater continental and global role.
It’s been essentially the Paul Kagame show [in Rwanda] for the last two decades, and not too many people see that changing.
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”.
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