DRC denies «aggression» against a fighter jet denounced by Rwanda and condemns «deliberate attack».

The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Félix Tshisekedi – PRESIDENCIA RDC

The Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has denied Rwanda’s version of an alleged incursion of a Congolese fighter plane into Rwandan airspace, which has been attacked by the Rwandan Army, an action it has «strongly denounced and condemned».

«The Rwandan fire was directed at a Congolese aircraft flying inside Congolese territory. It never flew over Rwandan airspace. The aircraft landed without major material damage,» reads a statement from the Congolese Executive picked up by Radio Okapi.

In this sense, the Congolese authorities have pointed out that this «umpteenth attack by Rwanda» is a «deliberate act of aggression that amounts to an act of war whose only objective is to sabotage» the attempts at peace.

At the same time, they called on their neighboring country to «stop this aggression», in the midst of an upsurge of bilateral tensions due to the fighting between the Congolese Army and the rebel group March 23 Movement (M23).

The DRC Executive criticized that «this attack is in addition to the offensive launched on Tuesday morning by the Rwandan Army towards Kitchanga and immediately repelled by the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC)».

Rwanda had fired on Tuesday at a DRC military aircraft after it violated its airspace, a move that comes for the third time in recent months.

«Today at 17.03 hours (local time), a DRC Sukhoi-25 violated Rwandan airspace for the third time. Defensive measures have been taken. Rwanda calls on DRC to stop this aggression,» reads a brief statement by the Rwandan government.

The brief statement had come after images circulated on social networks of a fighter jet flying low and subsequently landing at Goma airport near the border in flames, as reported by ‘The New Times’.

DRC authorities last week accused the M23 of failing to meet its commitments to withdraw from the east of the country, while the group denounced attacks by the army and warned that it would not remain «idle». He also stressed that the conclusions of the peace agreements signed in Luanda (Angola) on the government «must also be implemented».

Rwanda, accused by DRC of backing the M23 in the framework of the conflict — which has provoked a serious bilateral diplomatic crisis — also accused Kinshasa of making «a selective reading» of the communiqué published after the Luanda mini-summit and warned that «it can only be seen as a threat of imminent attacks against Rwanda».