Rwanda "will not sit idly by" against any further attacks launched from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the East African nation warns, as tensions between the two neighbours soar.
Rwanda will retaliate if it suffers further attacks from neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), its foreign minister has said, after accusing DRC of firing shells across the border earlier this month.
"If attacks continue we will not sit idly by ... Rwanda will have the right to respond to protect the security of the country, to protect the security of its citizens and we have the means to do that," Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta told reporters on Tuesday.
Biruta said FDLR fighters were among the ranks of the DRC army when their shells allegedly destroyed houses and injured people on the Rwandan side of the border.
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DRC summoned Rwanda's ambassador and suspended RwandAir flights to DRC over the weekend in response to what it said was Kigali's support for M23 rebels carrying out a military offensive in its eastern borderlands.
Rwanda denies the claims and has in turn accused the DRC army of fighting alongside the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), an armed group founded by ethnic Hutus who fled Rwanda after participating in the 1994 genocide.
"They cannot say that they are victims of the FDLR. The FDLR are killing our people, not the Rwandan people; it is we who suffer. Their discourse on the FDLR no longer makes sense," DRC government spokesperson Patrick Muyaya told the Reuters news agency.
The clashes threaten to unravel relations between the two countries, which had improved since Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi came to power three years ago.
The M23 insurgency stems from the long fallout of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
READ MORE: African Union 'gravely concerned' about Rwanda-DRC tensions
DRC to free detained Rwandan soldiers
Meanwhile, DRC has agreed to release two Rwandan soldiers detained amid soaring tensions, Angolan President Joao Lourenco announced on Tuesday.
The announcement came after Lourenco held talks with DRC President Felix Tshisekedi.
"At the request of his Angolan counterpart, (Tshisekedi) agreed to release two Rwandan soldiers recently captured on DRC territory," Lourenco's office said.
"This step is intended to help reduce the tension in the relationship between the two countries," it added.
Lourenco later held a videoconference conversation with Rwandan leader Kagame, Luanda said.
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.
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