The Rwandan army has “launched military interventions against Congolese armed groups and positions of the Congolese Armed Forces” since November 2021 and until June 2022, according to this report sent to the Security Council. Experts indicate that Kigali has also “provided troop reinforcements to the M23 for specific operations, in particular when these were aiming to seize cities and strategic areas”. The report’s authors claim to have evidence of Rwanda’s direct involvement “either unilaterally or jointly with M23 fighters” in eastern DRC.
DRC-Rwanda: Félix Tshisekedi’s puzzle
The M23, for “March 23 Movement”, a former Tutsi-dominated rebellion defeated in 2013, took up arms again at the end of last year to demand the application of an agreement signed with Kinshasa. Since the end of March, the frequency and intensity of the fighting has increased drastically and the M23 has seized parts of Rutshuru territory, up to tens of kilometers north of Goma, the provincial capital of North Kivu.
“No doubt”, for Tshisekedi
The Congolese authorities accuse Kigali to support these rebels, while Rwanda has repeatedly denied its involvement. “There is no doubt that Rwanda supported the M23 to come and attack the DRC,” said Félix Tshisekedi in particular at the beginning of June. Rwandan President Paul Kagame for his part denounces cooperation between the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC) and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). In an interview given to Young Africa last June, Vincent Biruta, the Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs, notably affirmed that these accusations were part of “an internal political agenda” in the DRC and considered that “Rwanda serves as a goat emissary”.