The President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, accused Rwanda of direct aggression on Tuesday and renewed the charges when he addressed the United Nations.
“Despite my goodwill and the outstretched hand of the Congolese people for peace, some of our neighbors find no other way of thanking us than supporting armed groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo,” Tshisekedi said in a speech to the general Assembly.
“This is currently the case with Rwanda, which, in violation of international law and the UN Charter… in March again committed aggression with direct raids by its armed forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” he said.
Tshisekedi said Rwanda has provided “enormous support in both war material and troops” to M23, which is increasingly active in the eastern border areas and which he calls a “terrorist group”.
He accused the Rwandan army of supporting the M23 in the shooting down of a UN peacekeeping helicopter in March that killed eight people: six Pakistanis, a Russian and a Serb.
The group has previously denied charges and the United Nations has stopped blaming the rebels as they sounded alarms about the group’s resurgence.
“Rwanda’s involvement and responsibility is no longer in question in the tragedy my country and compatriots are experiencing in the zones occupied by the Rwandan army and their M23 allies,” he said.
The eastern part of the vast country has been ravaged by violence for nearly 30 years and numerous armed groups are active.
The M23, a mostly Tutsi force defeated in 2013, took up arms again late last year after accusing the Kinshasa government of not respecting an agreement on the demobilization and reintegration of fighters.
A UN report seen by TBEN last month found that the Rwandan army intervened against Congolese positions from November to June.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also said during an August visit to Kinshasa there were “credible” reports of Rwandan involvement.
Rwanda, where the memory of the 1994 genocide against Tutsis is still vivid, has denied the charges and vowed to defend its territory.
President Paul Kagame will speak at the United Nations on Wednesday.