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Rwanda's Attack on a Congolese Jet Escalates Border Tensions

MIN READJan 25, 2023 | 21:32 GMT

M23 fighters guard the area during a meeting between the rebel group and East African Regional Force (EACRF) officials at the Rumangabo camp in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Jan. 6, 2023.

M23 fighters guard the area during a meeting between the rebel group and East African Regional Force (EACRF) officials at the Rumangabo camp in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Jan. 6, 2023.

(GUERCHOM NDEBO/AFP via Getty Images)

Rwanda's attack on a Congolese jet will elevate already high bilateral tensions and increase the risk of Congolese retaliatory measures that could limit the progress of peace processes in eastern Congo. Rwandan forces fired at a Sukhoi-25 fighter jet of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Jan. 24 for allegedly violating Rwandan airspace. The Rwandan government claimed that the fighter jet was flying over Rwanda’s Rubavu district -- which is located across the Congolese border from Goma (a provincial capital city of about 5 million people) -- when the Rwandan military took “defensive measures” by shooting at the aircraft. The Congolese government has denied Rwanda’s accusation that the jet violated Rwanda’s airspace, instead claiming in a Jan. 24 statement that “Rwandan shooting was directed at a Congolese aircraft flying inside Congolese territory,” while confirming that the jet had landed in Goma without any major damage. Moreover, the Congolese statement...

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