Tshisekedi and Kagame

Kagame is at loggerheads with his counterpart Tshisekedi over counter accusations of supporting armed movements in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The DR Congo President Felix Tshisekedi has announced plans to declare war on Rwanda, “I am going to convene Parliament in congress to authorize me to declare war against Rwanda,” said Tshisekedi, during a meeting at Place Sainte Thérèse in Kinshasa on Monday.

“Tell Kagame that I am unlike the former leaders of the DRC he used to have fun with,” he added.

“The DRC has changed. I will respond to any provocation.”

Tshisekedi’s remarks come at a time of heightened tensions between DR Congo and Rwanda.

Kinshasa accuses Kigali of arming and helping M23 rebels with elite soldiers to destabilize eastern Congo, a charge Rwanda denies.

Kigali says Kinshasa has been arming FDLR, a genocidal militia group to terrorize Tutsi communities in North Kivu and also carry out attacks inside Rwanda.

Tshisekedi, who is facing powerful opposition figures in the December 20 election, has on several occasions on the campaign trail attacked President Kagame, accusing him of destabilizing DRC.

Tshisekedi’s direct threat against Rwanda underscores the fast-deteriorating relations between the two countries.

“Paul Kagame can play with everyone, but not with Félix Tshisekedi,” said Tshisekedi.

Bintou Keita, Special Representative of the Secretary-General to DRC, recently warned that “the restive North Kivu province has witnessed a further deterioration in the security situation, with rising regional tensions between the DRC and Rwanda, increasing the risk of direct military confrontation that could involve Burundi.”

However, the U.S. government recently secured a deal with both leaders whereby DRC would move its combat drones away from Goma and Rwanda withdraws its troops from DRC.

The Minister of Defense, Jean Pierre Bembe on Monday said Kinshasa was witnessing the gradual withdrawal of the Rwandan army from Congolese soil.

“I wouldn’t want to sell the bear’s skin before catching it but at the moment, the Rwandan forces are withdrawing from many positions,” said Bemba, emphasizing, “We are observing a ceasefire and a withdrawal.”

Rwandan forces participated in two wars in DRC – one that ousted President Mobutu Sese Seko and another aimed at toppling Laurent Kabila.


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