KIVU/KIGALI – Several soldiers belonging to the Rwanda Patriotic Forces (RPF) have been killed while others have been killed during fighting with rebels in DR Congo.
Rwandan soldiers entered into parts of Eastern DRC to confront FLN rebels that the tiny East African country claims are planning to wage war against its government led by Paul Kagame.
But now it has emerged that RPF soldiers suffered “serious casualties” in the fight with rebels.
The soldiers are said to have suffered serious defeats in Fizi forest in South Kivu where they were ambushed by the rebels. Senior military sources in the Rwanda government have told this website that the their soldiers were caught unawares by the rebels who are used to the thick forests in the area.
“Since March, we have lost a big number of soldiers, especially the new recruits. We were ambushed on three occasions by the rebels,” the soldier, who requested anonymity in order to discuss what he described as a highly sensitive matter.
The casualties are flown to Kanombe military hospital in Kigali where those injured are treated.
According to a senior medical officer at this military hospital who did not want to be named for fear of state repression, the victims are being airlifted from different fighting battles inside the DR Congo.
“Most of the soldiers we have received either fell into ambushes in Congo forests or some died during heavy fighting with suspected rebels in the Congo,” the source noted.
He added “some of our troops died in three different ambushes in Fizi area between March – April 2019”.
According to this medical officer, some of those dead include Dr Dieudonné Habyamuremye who died in in Bijambo ambush in South Kivu.
Habyamuremye was born on 17 December 1979 in Kicyukiro, Kigali, Rwanda, Ingénieur Duwani Kamugisha, born on 22 March 1971 in Musanze, Rwanda. He died in Bijambo ambush in South Kivu.
Enock Junior Kamanzi born on 12 December 1981 in Mbarara, Uganda and died in Minembwe ambush South Kivu.
Peace Murekatete born 10 May 1984 in Rubavu, Rwanda and died in Lulenge ambush South Kivu.
Donatien Mark Munyaneza born on 17 January 1980 in Kirundo, Burundi and died in Lulenge ambush South Kivu.
Maj Mbabazi born 1 July 1977 in Ngororero, Rwanda and died in Minembwe ambush South Kivu.
Jean-Claude Tarcise Musaninyange born on14 August 1982, Kirundo, Burundi and died in Minembwe ambush South Kivu.
Most of the dead are the recently passed Rwandan military cadets.
UN peacekeepers and other security sources in the DRC recently confirmed that Rwandan units from at least two battalions of the Rwanda Defence Force have been taking positions inside Congo-Kinshasa, to hunt down groups of Rwandan rebels.
The troops have been spotted by local sources in the Virunga Park in North Kivu province, with reports of others crossing over into neighboring South Kivu, near the tri-border area with Burundi, as late as 30 May.
Rwanda military is also reportedly expanding its operations in Beni – Bunia axis, South Kivu region and Ituri region, respectively with rear bases in Beni – Ituri corridor targeting western Uganda.
Locals also say since June 13th, 2019, columns of Rwandan army has been entering Congo through Njerima – Kanyanje hills towards Karisimbi forest and that are now based at Rumangabo military base.
The DR Congo government has for long been blaming Rwanda for many of its insecurity problems.
Rwanda’s critics say it uses the presence of the FDLR as a pretext to plunder its vast, mineral-wealthy neighbor.