Rwandan troops killed five soldiers from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo after the DRC troops crossed into the country and opened fire, the government in Kigali said Wednesday.
"On Wednesday ... a section of the DRC army crossed the border to Rwanda where they opened fired on a Rwanda Defense Force patrol," Rwanda's government said in a statement.
Kigali was quick to condemn the incursion.
“These actions by the DRC are jeopardising the region’s extensive efforts to ensure peace, stability and development for all our citizens,” said Louise Mushikiwabo, Rwanda’s foreign affairs minister and a government spokesperson.
The DRC government said earlier on Wednesday that the fighting began after Rwandan troops first entered Congolese territory and seized a soldier.
Congolese regional commander Colonel Ephrem Ramazani said there had been "heavy weapon fire from both sides" as clashes erupted.
A local from a village near the fighting said the troops had used "mortars and even rockets" in the fighting, which started up again around 2pm local time (12pm GMT) and continued into the afternoon.
Kigali and Kinshasa have long been at odds, with Rwanda repeatedly accused by the United Nations and its neighbour of backing the now-defunct M23 rebel insurgency in the strife-torn Democratic Republic of Congo.
DRC government forces backed by UN peacekeepers attacked Rwandan Hutu rebels based in the eastern border region in March.
Rwanda fought against the central government during Congo's two wars in 1996-1997 and 1998-2003, and has been involved in several attempts to destabilise the country by backing uprisings by Tutsi-dominated militias.
But the border has remained relatively calm since the defeat of a Rwanda-backed rebellion led by M23 militants and the signing of a peace deal in December.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)
Date created : 2014-06-11