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The recent crisis between the DRC and Rwanda is propelled by historical tensions – Afriqaa

The recent crisis between the DRC and Rwanda is propelled by historical tensions

by MMC
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The United Nations (UN) has issued a warning about the escalating humanitarian crisis in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), particularly highlighting the alarming increase in violence against women. Bruno Lemarquis, the Humanitarian Coordinator of the United Nations Stabilization Mission (MONUSCO) in the DRC, delivered this urgent message on Wednesday February 21, 2024.

Lemarquis underlined the seriousness of the situation during a UN briefing, saying: “The crisis in the DRC is one of the most serious, complex, protracted and neglected in the world. » He expressed his deep concern about the resumption of hostilities in eastern DRC, particularly in North Kivu, where violent clashes between the M23 group and the Congolese armed forces (FARDC) have intensified. These clashes have led to serious humanitarian consequences, including massive displacements.

A few days ago, the DRC filed a complaint against Rwanda, alleging its involvement in a drone attack that caused damage to a civilian plane at Goma airport, a crucial hub in the country’s eastern region, more precisely in the province of North Kivu.

According to Al Jazeera, tensions have recently intensified, particularly around a town called Sake, located about 20 kilometers from Goma. This escalation gave rise to clashes between the M23 rebels, who Kinshasa says receive support from Kigali, and Congolese government forces. The situation highlights the complex web of political, economic and regional dynamics at play in Africa’s Great Lakes region.

The conflict is exacerbated by the DRC’s demands and assertions by the UN and Western countries, suggesting that Rwanda’s support for the rebels is motivated by a desire to exert control over the region’s abundant mineral resources. Rwanda vehemently denies these allegations. As tensions continue to simmer, there is an urgent need for diplomatic efforts to defuse the conflict and promote stability in the region.

Historical facts about Rwanda-DRC hostility

Rwanda once had three major ethnic groups: the Hutu, the Tutsi and the Twa. While Hutus make up about 85% of Rwanda’s population, Tutsis make up 14% and Twa make up about 1% of its population. The Tutsis, despite being a minority group, ruled Rwanda for centuries. Colonialism further reinforced this position as their Belgian colonial masters propagated the myth that the Tutsi were the superior ethnicity, thereby increasing already existing tensions between the group.

Thus, between April and July 1994, the Rwandan genocide was staged. The war was a bloody battle against Tutsi, Twa and moderate Hutus, claiming between 500,000 and 1,000,000 lives. Millions of Rwandan refugees flocked to the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) following the genocide.

The main perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide were the Interahamwe, a Hutu paramilitary organization currently active in the DRC and Uganda. In July 1994, the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) achieved victory in the Rwandan civil war and drove the insurgents back to the DRC. When a new Tutsi government was established in Rwanda after the genocide, more than two million Hutus sought refuge in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. In this historical context, the two countries lived in a stifling and pernicious relationship.

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