DR Congo army confirms two Rwandan soldiers detained
DR Congo reveals the detainment of two Rwandan soldiers for "trespassing".
The DRC army confirmed on Sunday that it was holding two Rwandan troops, a day after Kigali accused it of supporting the rebels who seized them.
Rwanda claimed on Saturday that the two soldiers were kidnapped by a Hutu rebel group operating in eastern DRC. However, the DRC army, on the other hand, claimed the soldiers were trespassing on its territory and had been apprehended by civilians.
Brigadier General Sylvain Ekenge of the Democratic Republic of the Congo said the detention of the two troops was "evidence" that the Rwandan army was operating on its neighbor's territory.
"Based on their own accounts, the soldiers entered Congolese territory on Wednesday, May 25 to attack the Congolese military camp at Rumangabo, more than 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) from the Rwandan border," he said.
"After they were routed by the DRC army in Rumangabo, they got lost and were subsequently captured by locals," said Ekenge, who is the military spokesman for North Kivu province, where Rumangabo is located.
He said Rwanda had been "fighting a proxy war ... on Congolese soil for decades."
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The Rwandan army urged Kinshasa authorities to cooperate for the release of its soldiers, who it claimed were kidnapped while on patrol by the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and carried across the border into the DRC.
Rumangabo is situated between Goma, the capital of Nord Kivu province, and Rutshuru, which is located farther north.
The Congolese army announced on Sunday that it has restored the critical major road connecting Rutshuru and Goma, which had been closed due to combat between DRC forces and another rebel group known as M23.
Kinshasa claims Rwanda supports M23, a largely Congolese Tutsi organization. Kigali has denied being involved.
Relations between the DRC and Rwanda have been strained since the overwhelming entry of Rwandan Hutus suspected of slaying Tutsis during the 1994 Rwanda genocide in the eastern DRC.