The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, and Rwandan leader, Paul Kagame, have agreed to meet in Angola to iron out their differences.
Angolan President, Joao Lourenco, on Tuesday, held talks with DR Congo President Tshisekedi where the latter agreed to release two Rwandan soldiers allegedly captured on DRC territory.
General Sylvain Ekenge, spokesman for the military governor of North Kivu province, said the two Rwandan soldiers were “arrested in North Kivu by civilians, more than 20 kilometres from the Rwandan border.”
“At the request of his Angolan counterpart, (Tshisekedi) agreed to release two Rwandan soldiers recently captured on DRC territory,” Lourenco’s office told AFP.
“This step is intended to help reduce the tension in the relationship between the two countries,” it added.
According to AFP, Lourenco later held a videoconference conversation with Rwandan leader Paul Kagame.
Following the separate interactions with Lourenco, the Rwandan and DRC leaders reached “an understanding” to meet face-to-face in Luanda, at a date to be announced.
Anti-Rwanda protest in DRC
Hundreds of protestors took to the streets on Monday in the DR Congo capital Kinshasa over Kigali’s alleged support of the M23, a notorious rebel group.
The protesters also called for the expulsion of the Rwandan ambassador and brandished nationalistic slogans on banners.
“Congo is our country… not a single centimetre will go to Rwanda,” read one seen by an AFP reporter.
The demonstrators held candles and shouted slogans against Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
“We support the FARDC (the Congolese army), our youths are ready to do military service to defend the country,” Pasi Nkoy from the Union for Democracy and Social Progress party, UDPS, said.
AU asks Angolan president to mediate
Senegal President Macky Sall, who chairs the Africa Union, on Sunday called for dialogue between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda as tensions escalated between the two countries over a resurgence of the M23 rebel group.
DR Congo on Saturday summoned Rwanda’s ambassador and suspended RwandAir flights to Congo in response to what it says is Kigali’s support for M23 rebels carrying out a military offensive in its eastern borderlands.
Sall urged Angolan President João Lourenço, the chairperson of the International Conference for the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), to head peace talks between DRC and Rwanda.
“I am seriously concerned by the rising tension between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Sall said on Twitter.
“I call for calm and dialogue between the two countries, and for the peaceful resolution of the crisis with the support of regional mechanisms and the African Union,” said Sall, who holds the rotating chairmanship of the African Union.
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 also accused the DRC of being an “ally” of the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda), an armed group hostile to Kigali and which fled Rwanda after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.