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Senegalese President Sall Calls For Dialogue Between Rwanda & DR Congo

Senegalese President Macky Sall, who is also the Chairperson of the Africa Union, on Sunday, called for dialogue between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as tensions escalate between the two neighboring countries following the resurgence of the M23 rebellion, reported Reuters.

“I am gravely concerned about the rise in tension between Rwanda and the DRC,” tweeted Sall.

On Saturday, the DRC government summoned Rwanda’s ambassador and suspended RwandAir flights to Congo in response to Kigali’s support for M23 rebel group, which is accused of carrying out a military offensive in its eastern borderlands.

Kinshasa has accused Rwanda of the latest offensive by the rebels, citing the rebels’ heavy firepower as evidence of outside support. Rwanda has denied this, calling the fighting an intra-Congolese conflict.

Rwanda’s army also requested the release of two Rwandan soldiers who it claims were kidnapped along its border with the DRC.

The Senegalese president urged the two countries for calm and dialogue for a peaceful solution to the crisis with the support of regional mechanisms and the African Union.

The relations between the DRC and Rwanda began deteriorating after the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Some of the people who were involved in the killings of over 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda have since set up militant groups in eastern Congo.

Rwanda has been accused of backing the M23 rebel group that came into being during that period, but the Rwandan government has denied the accusations.

The M23, a rebel group of ethnic Tutsis in eastern DRC, is staging its largest offensive against the DRC government since a 2012-2013 insurrection that captured vast swaths of the countryside. Heavy fighting has spread to Goma, the major city in the region. The militant groups have attacked army bases in the area in recent months.

In March, the M23 group attacked two DRC army bases near the borders with Uganda and Rwanda.

The Senegalese president Sall is also expected to travel to Russia and Ukraine on behalf of the AU in the coming weeks in a bid to achieve peace through dialogue between the two countries.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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