KINSHASA, January 17, 2024 — The Democratic Republic of Congo’s military, the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC), has issued a call for the repatriation of the body of a Congolese soldier killed in Rwanda. This incident highlights the ongoing border tensions between the two nations.
On January 16, three FARDC soldiers, namely Second-Class Soldiers Assumani Mupenda, Anyasaka Nkoyi Lucien, and Bokuli Lote, inadvertently crossed into Rwandan territory during a patrol along the border. This border mishap resulted in the death of one soldier and the arrest of the other two by the Rwandan Defence Forces (RDF).
In an official statement, the FARDC, through its communication head, General Sylvain Ekenge, explained that the soldiers crossed the border by mistake. The general pointed out that such incidents of soldiers straying across the border are not uncommon due to the nature of the frontier. However, he expressed regret over the RDF’s decision to resort to lethal force in this instance.
The RDF, in a statement on their official website, countered that the killed soldier was neutralized after he allegedly attempted to shoot at a Rwandan patrol team. This claim adds a layer of complexity to the incident, suggesting possible hostile engagement rather than a mere border trespass.
The FARDC has engaged the Joint Verification Mechanism, an entity likely involved in cross-border issues, to facilitate the return of the deceased soldier’s body and the release of the captured personnel. This move underscores the FARDC’s commitment to resolving this incident diplomatically and highlights the delicate nature of Congo-Rwanda relations.