DRC returns Rwandan soldiers

By The Eastafrican

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The Democratic Republic of Congo has handed over two Rwandan soldiers who had been arrested for trespassing into Congolese territory.

The two soldiers, a lieutenant and a private, had been arrested on Sunday by Congolese soldiers deployed along the common border, who said the Rwandans had crossed 10 metres into DRC.

They were handed over to the Extended Joint Verification Mechanism, a security organisation of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), and transferred to the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) in Rubavu.

Lt-Col Innocent Munyengango, Rwanda Military Spokesperson, said that the two accidentally crossed the border while on patrol.

“This was caused by the lack of clear border demarcation between Rwanda and DRC. It is a regrettable but common cross-border occurrence. On several occasions, we have returned FARDC soldiers who accidentally crossed to our side,” he said.

“The RDF and FARDC, together with the Great Lakes Region Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism, handled the incident amicably.”

In February, Rwanda and DRC accused each other of territorial violation after fighting between their two armies some 15km from common border.

At least three Congolese soldiers were killed in the fighting, for which RDF accused the Congolese soldiers.

The Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism is still investigating the incident.

The two neighbours share a poorly demarcated northern borderline, which has been a source of skirmishes over the past two decades.