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DR Congo Army Confirms Two Rwandan Soldiers Detained

DR Congo Army Confirms Two Rwandan Soldiers Detained
FILE — In this Saturday, July 10, 2021 file photo, Rwandan armed forces prepare...   -  
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Muhizi Olivier/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Democratic Republic Of Congo

The army in the Democratic Republic of Congo confirmed on Sunday it was holding two Rwandan soldiers, a day after Kigali accused it of backing the rebels who initially kidnapped them.

The Rwandan army said the two soldiers were abducted during a patrol and taken to eastern DRC by the FDLR, with Kigali accusing the Congolese authorities of supporting them.

"Contrary to statements by Rwandan officials, "the soldiers of the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) are actually operating on Congolese territory. The proof is the arrest by the population of Corporal Nkundabangezi Elysée and soldier Minuare Gadi," wrote Brigadier General Sylvain Ekenge.

"According to their own account, they entered Congolese soil on Wednesday 25 May 2022 to attack the Congolese military camp of Rumangabo, more than 20 kilometres from the Rwandan border, in Rutshuru territory," the officer added.

On Saturday, Rwanda claimed that two of its soldiers had been abducted by Rwandan Hutu rebels of the FDLR who had brought them back to the DRC, calling on "the DRC authorities who are working in close collaboration with this genocidal armed group to ensure their release".

On Sunday, the Congolese army announced the reopening of the strategic Rutshuru - Goma road axis after five days of traffic interruption due to fighting between the FARDC and M23 rebels, said Colonel Guillaume Ndjike.

The DRC and Rwanda have had tense relations since the mass arrival in eastern Congo of Rwandan Hutus accused of massacring Tutsis during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

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