Rwandan troops ‘enter eastern Congo’

Africa’s most deadly war today moved a step closer to reigniting when Congo confirmed it was sending troops to confront Rwandan soldiers who may already have crossed into its eastern region.

In the Congolese capital, Kinshasa, the president, Joseph Kabila, told international diplomats he would send troops towards the border with Rwanda to “assure the security of the civilian population and to contain the Rwandan aggression,” according to a presidential spokesman.

The spokesman said Congo intended to send up to 10,000 reinforcements to the mineral-rich east after reports that thousands of Rwandan troops had crossed into its territory.

Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, today repeated his warning that his forces would invade Congo to deal with rebel Hutu militias that Rwanda claims have recently begun cross-border attacks on his citizens.

Speaking at the swearing-in of a senator, Mr Kagame again complained that the UN and Congolese forces had not done enough to disarm Hutu rebels sheltering in eastern Congo.

He hinted that his forces may already have crossed into Congo. The UN has called on Rwanda to keep its troops out of the fragile region.

“Any time the United Nations ignores or fails to deal with the problem, we shall do it ourselves – and this will not take long, or we might even be doing it now,” Mr Kagame said.

Rwandan officials have refused to confirm or deny that troops had entered Congo, but Mr Kagame’s statement was the closest yet to an admission of an incursion.
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