Rwanda & DRC accuse each other of using rebel groups to their advantage

By Musinguzi Blanshe
Posted on Friday, 10 June 2022 10:37

DRC's President Felix Tshisekedi and Rwanda's President Paul Kagame. Flickr/Paul Kagame
DRC's President Felix Tshisekedi and Rwanda's President Paul Kagame. Flickr/Paul Kagame

For the past few years, the relationship between the governments of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) had been improving. Now Kigali and Kinshasa are ratcheting up tensions by accusing each other of supporting rebel groups in the eastern DRC.

In late May and early June, as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) accused Rwanda of backing resurgent the M23 rebels, the latter counter-accused the former of working with the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR).

Among the leaders of the FDLR are people who participated in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide who have lived in eastern DRC for nearly three decades. FDLR members are from the Hutu ethnic group and M23 is largely made up of Tutsi of Congolese descent.

The DRC has played a crucial role in weakening the FDLR in recent years. In 2019, the armed Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC) – DRC national army — killed Sylvestre Mudacumura, the FDLR’s main leader. The FARDC killed many other FDLR leaders since 2019.