Local reports of Rwandan infiltration into DR Congo
Issued on: Modified:
Congolese rebel leader Laurent Nkunda claims he is not receiving help from neighbouring Rwanda. But locals in North Kivu province tell FRANCE 24’s Arnaud Zajtman there is an influx of Rwandan arms and troops from across the border.
Watch our Top Story: 'DR Congo faces catastrophe'
View our special report: 'Conflict in North Kivu'
Kibumba, on the border between Congo and Rwanda, is one of two border posts controlled by Laurent Nkunda's rebels and a major commercial hub.
Kibumba’s customs officers fled after the rebels seized the post two weeks ago. It’s been quiet since, but there are now reports of infiltration by soldiers coming from Rwanda.
“Everyday they come in from Rwanda, soldiers, militias…,” says one local man. But officials from the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) never come to town, he says. “If the MONUC comes there's nothing going on. They see it's dead here. And the MONUC doesn’t speak with locals. Yesterday, two white men came who spoke English.”
The two white men who spoke English were UN officials. They confirmed to FRANCE 24 that they had seen a military vehicle enter via the crossing. However, MONUC will not officially confirm allegations of Rwandan infiltration. At the very most, they say there was firing from the Rwandan side of the border two weeks ago.
“Our peacekeepers saw and observed Rwandan troops and Rwandan tanks firing in the direction of Congo on the 29th of October,” says MONUC spokeswoman Sylvie van den Wildenberg.
The land border is less than 60 kilometers long and there are only two border crossings, but MONUC has yet to confirm that the Rwandan military has infiltrated its western neighbour.
Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morningSubscribe