Fighting flares up on DRC-Rwanda border

2014-06-12 11:29
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Kinshasa - Fighting flared again on the border of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo early on Thursday, according to Congolese sources, the second day of skirmishes between two neighbours locked in a decades-long dispute.

Rwandan and Congolese troops traded heavy weapons fire around 06:00 GMT, said a witness and a Congolese officer.

"There were heavy arms fire explosions, rockets," a resident told AFP on condition of anonymity.

A senior Congolese military officer said that Rwandan troops "attacked our positions".

On Wednesday the two sides exchanged gunfire, with each blaming the other for the outbreak of violence.

Rockets and mortar shells

The Congolese army said the fighting started after the abduction of one of its soldiers by Rwandan troops who had crossed the border into the restive North Kivu region, while Rwanda said Congolese troops crossed into its territory and opened fire on Rwandan soldiers.

The two have long been at odds, with Rwanda repeatedly accused by the United Nations and its neighbour of backing a rebellion by the M23 rebel group that temporarily seized control of parts of eastern DRC.

Rwanda last year accused the Congolese army of firing rockets and mortar shells on its territory, and massed troops along its border in response.

Rwanda fought against the central government in Kinshasa in Congo's two wars in 1996-97 and 1998-2003, and has been involved in several attempts to destabilise the country, backing uprisings by Tutsi-dominated militias.

There are fears the latest violence could undermine international efforts to bring stability to the DRC's mineral-rich but lawless east after years of bloody conflict.

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