Kigali, Rwanda | Xinhua | Rwanda said a fighter jet from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) violated its airspace “for the third time” Tuesday afternoon and that “defensive measures were taken.”
“Today at 5:03 pm, a Sukhoi-25 from the DR Congo violated Rwanda airspace for the third time,” read a short statement issued by the Office of the Government Spokesperson. “Rwanda asks the DRC to stop this aggression.”
The DRC has not yet responded to Kigali’s latest allegation.
Rwanda’s government statement Tuesday came shortly after videos and photos on social media showing a Sukhoi-25 being shot at as it flew low over Lake Kivu before landing at Goma airport near the border while still on fire. The fire was extinguished but the jet was badly damaged. The videos and photos have yet to be verified.
This is not the first time that Rwanda has accused DRC jets of violating its airspace.
On Nov. 8 last year, the Office of the Rwandan Government Spokesperson said in a statement that a DRC Sukhoi-25 fighter violated Rwandan airspace and briefly touched down at Rubavu Airport in its Western Province.
“No military action was taken by Rwanda in response, and the jet returned to DRC,” the statement said at the time. “Rwandan authorities have protested this provocation to the DRC government, who acknowledged the incident.”
Relations between the two neighboring countries have soured since fighting resumed between M23 rebels and DRC government troops in the DRC’s eastern North Kivu Province.
The DRC accuses Rwanda of backing M23 rebels, but Rwanda denies the charge.
Rwanda has also accused the Congolese army of using heavy weaponry, targeting Rwanda’s border zone in renewed fighting in eastern DRC. ■