Rwandan troops kill Congolese soldier who crossed border

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Rwandan troops killed a Congolese soldier who crossed the tense border between the two countries on Saturday, Rwanda’s defence ministry and the Congolese army said.

Rwanda’s defence ministry said the soldier entered Rwanda’s Rubavu district and started shooting at Rwanda Defence Force guard towers.

Congo army spokesperson Colonel Guillaume Ndjike said the soldier was a new army recruit, who may have wandered across the frontier after becoming lost during a night patrol. An investigation was under way into the incident.

“After verification, it is indeed an element of the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who is newly assigned,” Ndjike said.

Tensions have escalated between Congo and Rwanda in recent months over Congo’s accusation that Rwanda was supporting the resurgent M23 rebel group, which has been fighting the Congolese government for a decade. Rwanda denies the accusation.

On Saturday, Congo’s Prime Minister Sama Lukonde, representing President Felix Tshisekedi at a summit of French speaking nations in Tunisia, refused to take part in a group photo so as not to share the stage with Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, Congo’s government spokesman said in a statement.

M23 has waged several offensives in east Congo this year, with clashes between the army and the rebels resulting in thousands of civilians being displaced since March.

Regional powers are working to ease relations between Rwanda and Congo. Kenya’s former president Uhuru Kenyatta and Rwanda’s Kagame agreed on Friday on the need for M23 rebels to cease fire and withdraw from captured territories in east Congo, the East African Community bloc said.