The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has suspended Rwanda Air from accessing its airspace in the latest escalation of hostilities between Kinshasa and Kigali over support of the M23 rebel movement in North Kivu.
This was among the resolutions of the DRC defense council meeting that took place last night in Kinshasa chaired by President Felix Tshisekedi.
The DRC Defense Council report confirms that Kigali was overtly supporting M23 rebels in Rutshuru and Nyiragongo in North Kivu province.
The report says “the Rwandan military effects found in liberated areas from M23 strongholds, the image evidence held by its armed forces as well as the testimonies collected from its populations in the former rebel held areas sufficiently demonstrate that the M23 is supported by the Rwandan army.
The Security Council also condemned a “recidivist attitude” of Rwanda which “aims to torpedo the pacification efforts undertaken within the framework of the Nairobi peace process”.
Among the decisions taken by the Congolese Security Council, the DRC took the precautionary measure of “the immediate suspension of the flights of the Rwandair aviation company on its territory.
“In view of the support of Rwanda to the M23 terrorists, it was decided to immediately suspend Rwandair flights to our country, a warning to the Rwandan government which is disrupting the peace process. “Says Patrick Muyaya the DRC government spokesperson.
The ministry of foreign affairs will also summon Rwandan ambassador to Kinshasa Vincent Karega to notify him of the total disapproval of the Congolese government”.
DRC is Rwanda’s important business destination with Rwanda Air increasing its daily flights in the recent past.
The defense council also passed a resolution to declare M23 movement as a terrorist organization and ordered for its exclusion from the Nairobi peace talk process.
Earlier alone, the Congolese Deputy Prime Minister of Foreign Affairs Christophe Lutundula had publicly accused Rwanda of supporting the M23 at the sidelines of the ongoing Malabo AU summit on terrorism and unconstitutional regime change in Africa.
Lutundula denounced Rwanda’s “manipulation” and accusing the FARDC of collaborating with negative forces, including the FDLR, to justify its support for the M23 rebels.
The Congolese army and the M23 rebels have been clashing again for a week, causing continuous displacement of people.
The M23 on Wednesday targeted the strategic Rumangabo FARDC military base in Rutshuru territory where they were repelled by the government forces.
Kigali on Monday accused the Congolese army of firing rockets at Rwanda, injuring several civilians.
It also denies supporting the M23 rebel group.