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Rwanda Fires at DR Congo Jets for ‘Violating Airspace’

Rwanda authorities are claiming that 25 fighter jets from DR Congo violated its airspace on January 24, 2023 – the third time such an incident occurred in three months – forcing Rwanda to take “defensive measures,” Kigali said.

A brief statement was issued as videos and photos emerged on social media showing a Sukhoi-25 being shot at as it flew low and subsequently landed at Goma airport near the border while still on fire.

Voice of America reports that DR Congo has accused Rwanda of an “act of war”. In a statement the DRC denied the jet had been in Rwandan airspace, saying the aircraft was “flying within Congolese territory”.

The first of such incidents occurred on November 7, 2022, when a Sukhoi-25 warplane violated Rwanda’s airspace, briefly touching down at Rubavu airport in the country’s western province. At the time, DR Congo authorities acknowledged the violation.

A second incident occurred on December 28, 2022 when a jet of the same type, again violated Rwanda’s airspace.

Tension between both countries has grown in recent months, after the resumption of fighting between the DRC army and the M23 movement last March, in which the DRC authorities accuse neighbouring country Rwanda of fueling the conflict.