Analysis | Why Congo and Rwanda Are at Each Other’s Throats – by Michael J. Kavanagh (Bloomberg News – February 2, 2023)

Violence in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo is escalating and fears are mounting of a wider conflict in what has long been one of Africa’s most volatile regions. President Felix Tshisekedi accuses his counterpart in neighboring Rwanda, Paul Kagame, of supporting a rebel group known as M23.

Kagame denies the allegation and counters that Tshisekedi’s inability to control events in his own country poses a security risk to Rwanda. The acrimony reached new heights in late January, when Rwanda’s army shot and damaged a Congolese fighter jet that it says violated its airspace.

An intensification in violence would further slow the development of Congo’s resource-rich east and exacerbate poverty in one of the world’s poorest places.

1. What is the fighting about?

Rwanda says its biggest concern is the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, or FDLR, one of more than 120 armed groups that are active in eastern Congo.

The FDLR was created by ethnic Hutus from Rwanda with links to the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide in their country, during which at least 850,000 people died, mostly ethnic Tutsis. The M23 says it’s fighting the FDLR to protect Congolese Tutsis who face discrimination.

For the rest of this article: