Rwanda denies US allegations of bombing IDP camps in Congo

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Rwanda has strongly rejected allegations made by the US Department of State regarding the bombing of camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) near Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The US condemned Friday’s attack that killed at least nine people. The US State Department said in a statement that the attack was launched from positions held by the Rwandan Defence Forces (RDF) and the Rwandan-backed M23 rebel group.

It added that “The US is ‘gravely concerned about the recent expansion of the RDF and M23’ in eastern Congo.”

But Rwandan government spokesperson Yolande Makolo denied the RDF was behind the attack and instead blamed it on militias supported by the Congolese military.

“The RDF, a professional army, would never attack an IDP (displaced persons). Look to the lawless FDLR and Wazalendo supported by the FARDC (Congolese military) for this kind of atrocity,” she said in a post on X.

The allegations have sparked a wave of debate on social media platforms, dividing opinion between those who support Rwanda’s denials and others who question its human rights record.

This incident has further fueled the existing tensions between Rwanda and the DRC, with some users accusing the US of scapegoating Rwanda for the DRC’s shortcomings. The situation remains unresolved, with both sides maintaining their positions.

A two-year offensive by M23 rebels has moved closer to the eastern Congolese city of Goma in recent months, prompting thousands to seek refuge in the city from surrounding areas. -Additional reporting by Reuters