Rwanda Govt Faults US Criticism Over DR Congo Violence

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The Rwandan government has faulted the United States for criticising it over escalating violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo while expressing “deep concern” over what it terms the abandonment of the regional peace processes.

Rwanda also said the international community is indifferent to DR Congo’s “dramatic military build-up”, adding that the country’s massive operation in its eastern North Kivu region contravenes decisions made by regional mechanisms.

Troops from the regional Southern African Development Community (SADC) have been helping DR Congo’s military as it confronts a series of armed groups including the M23.

Last week, two South African soldiers who are part of the SADC forces were killed and three were injured after a mortar bomb landed in their base.

Over the weekend, the US condemned Rwanda’s alleged backing of Congolese M23 forces and called on the East African country to immediately withdraw all its forces from DR Congo. However, Rwanda has denied backing the M23.

A statement by the US State Department spokesman asked Rwanda to “remove its surface-to-air missile systems in DR Congo, which it said threatened lives of civilians, peacekeepers and commercial flights.

Rwanda said the US statement distorts the reality, adding that DR Congo’s actions threaten its security and it reserves the right to take measures to defend itself against this threat.

It added that it would seek clarification from the US as the statement contradicts the tone of the confidence-building process initiated by the US Director of National Intelligence last year.