Kinshasa denies Kigali’s claim calling the incident a ‘deliberate act of aggression tantamount to an act of war’.
Rwandan forces shot down a fighter jet from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that it said had violated its airspace, prompting the Congolese government to accuse it of an act of war.
“A Sukhoi-25 fighter jet from the Democratic Republic of Congo has violated Rwandan airspace for the third time,” Rwandan government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo said on Tuesday.
“Defensive measures have been taken,” she said, adding, “Rwanda is asking the DRC to stop this aggression.”
In December, Rwanda said another fighter jet from DR Congo briefly violated its airspace.
An unarmed Congolese warplane also briefly landed at Rwanda’s airport in November while on a reconnaissance mission near the border, in what the DRC said was an accident.
The DRC rejected Rwandan accusations that the plane was in Rwandan airspace – the latest dispute between the two countries, whose relations have been marred by rebel violence.
“The Rwandan gunfire was directed at a Congolese aircraft that was flying inside Congolese territory,” Kinshasa said in a statement, confirming that the plane had landed in Goma without significant damage.
He described Rwanda’s move as a “deliberate act of aggression tantamount to an act of war” aimed at undermining the peace agreement to end the offensive by the M23 rebel group.
A video widely shared on Congolese social media shows a missile being fired at a military plane in mid-air, before exploding near the plane, which continued to fly. The video could not be immediately verified.
The DRC, United Nations experts and Western powers have accused Rwanda of supporting M23, which seized several towns and villages in the DRC in renewed fighting last year. Rwanda has denied any involvement.
Regional leaders brokered a deal in November that required the Tutsi-led group to withdraw from newly-conquered positions by January 15 as part of efforts to end fighting that has displaced at least 450,000 people.
Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi said last week that the rebels had not fully withdrawn from those areas.
Meanwhile, fresh fighting broke out Tuesday morning between Congolese government forces and M23 rebels in Masisi and Rutshur near the town of Kitshanga, some 70 km (43 miles) from Goma.