Eastern Congo Crisis and Rwanda’s ‘Red Line’

cc Al Jazeera, modified, https://www.flickr.com/photos/32834977@N03/7580533618

In the latest signal of escalating tensions between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwandan President Paul Kagame described a recent lethal shelling by the FDLR, a Hutu-led armed group based In the Eastern DRC, into Rwandan territory as a “red line.”

Following the conclusion of Rwanda’s civil war and genocide in 1994, conflicts between the DRC (then known as Zaire) and the RPF-led government in Kigali began to escalate. The defeat of Hutu-led armed groups forced its leadership and fighters to seek refuge in the Eastern DRC to regroup and launch cross-border attacks to weaken the Tutsi-led government in Rwanda, with the FDLR representing the most veteran anti-Rwandan threat. The resulting violence and instability within the Eastern DRC provinces of North and South Kivu compelled a Rwandan-led invasion in 1996, with support from neighboring states Uganda and Burundi during the First Congo War.

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