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Gunfire Erupts Along DRC-Rwanda Border

  • VOA News

Gunfire has erupted for a second day on the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Reports from the area say soldiers exchanged fire briefly Thursday morning in a town north of Goma, the capital of Congo's North Kivu province.
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Each side has accused the other of provoking the clashes. DRC officials say Rwandan forces crossed into North Kivu on Wednesday and kidnapped and killed a Congolese soldier.

Rwanda says Congolese forces crossed the border and opened fire.

Congo says two of its soldiers were killed in Wednesday's fighting, while Rwanda puts the number of Congolese dead at five.

The U.N. mission in Congo has called on all parties to reduce tension and avoid further violence.

DRC information minister Lambert Mende told VOA's English to Africa service that Rwandan forces have been deliberately trying to undermine the DRC's efforts to improve security in volatile eastern provinces.

“We are used to these games from our neighbors, whenever we are trying to solve this [security] problem," Mende said. " Now, we are trying to disarm this FDLR [the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda], you must see such games played from the other side of the border, just to jeopardize and stop the exercise and stop the exercise."

On Twitter, Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said for several months, her country had put up with "behavior from DRC unbecoming of leadership."

The two countries have been at odds for years, with the DRC accusing Rwanda of backing Congolese rebel groups, including M23, which Congolese forces defeated last year.

Rwanda denies those accusations and accuses Congo of harboring the FDLR militia, which includes fighters who took part in Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

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