Rwanda shoots at Congolese army jet over ‘violation of airspace’

Rwandan forces have fired at a fighter jet from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), over an allegation of a violation of airspace.


In a video shared on Twitter by the Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA),  on Tuesday, a projectile could be seen shooting toward an airborne military plane, before exploding in the air near the plane.


The plane continued to fly and later crashed as seen in subsequent videos.


Congo said the plane did not suffer any major damages.


In a statement, the Rwandan government said its forces had fired at the jet after it violated Rwandan airspace, prompting the government to take “defensive measures”.


 “Today at 5:03 pm, a Sukhoi-25 from DR Congo violated Rwanda airspace for the third time. Defensive measures were taken. Rwanda asks the DRC to stop this aggression,” the statement reads.


The DRC countered the Rwandan authorities, saying the aircraft was flying “within Congolese territory”.


It described Rwanda’s move as a “deliberate act of aggression that amounts to an act of war” aimed at undermining a peace agreement to end an offensive by the M23 rebel group.


“The government considers this umpteenth attack by Rwanda as a deliberate action”, the DRC’s ministry of information said.


“DR Congo reserves the right to defend its national territory and will not be threatened”.


The action sparks an escalation following months of conflict caused by the rebel group in eastern DR Congo, which has forced thousands of people to flee their homes.


DR Congo, the United States, and United Nations (UN) experts had earlier cited “solid evidence” accusing Rwanda of backing the M23 rebel group with weapons and other forms of support.


Rwanda has denied this and blames the Congolese government for the conflict. 

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