The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on Tuesday denounced Rwanda’s accusation that a Congolese fighter jet had violated Rwandan airspace, claiming that the planes were attacked by Rwandan forces in a “deliberate act of aggression amounting to an act of war.”
Rwanda’s Government Communications Office issued a statment on Twitter Tuesday who said: “Today at 5:03pm, a Sukhoi-25 from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) violated Rwanda’s airspace for the third time. Defensive measures have been taken. Rwanda requests the DRC to stop this aggression.”
The Congolese government later issued a dossier statment He questioned Kigali’s version of events, claiming that the plane was “attacked while beginning its descent on the runway of Goma International Airport”.
“Rwandan fire was directed at a Congolese plane that was flying inside Congolese territory. It did not fly over Rwandan airspace. The plane landed without major material damage.”
It goes on to say that “the government considers this unconscionable attack by Rwanda to be a deliberate act of aggression amounting to an act of war” with the “sole aim of sabotaging” ongoing efforts to restore peace in eastern DRC, where rebels are fighting fractious relations between the two countries.
CNN cannot independently verify any version of events.
A video clip that was widely circulated on social media in the Congo showed a shell fired at an airborne military plane, before it exploded in the air near the plane, which continued to fly. CNN could not immediately verify the video.
The Congolese government, the United Nations and Western allies accuse Rwanda of supporting the notorious M23 rebel group in its violent insurgency in eastern DRC, which Kigali denies.
The region’s leaders brokered a deal in November under which the Tutsi-led group was to withdraw from recently captured positions by January 15 as part of efforts to end fighting that has displaced at least 450,000 people.
Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi said last week that the rebels had not fully withdrawn from those areas.
Rwanda said in December that another fighter jet from Congo had briefly violated its airspace.
An unarmed Congolese warplane also briefly landed at a Rwandan airport in November while on a reconnaissance mission near the border, in what Congo described as an accident.