Congolese forces in the provincial capital of Goma have reportedly opened fire across the border into Rwanda in a battle with advancing M23 rebels.
The action has prompted a war of words. Rwanda has said it has no intention of responding militarily to what it called Kinshasa’s “provocation”.
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s government is bracing itself for a full-scale rebel assault on Goma and claims the continuing violence is what neighbouring Rwanda wants.
“We think that the first objective of this madness by President Kagame and his government is to prevent the deployment of the neutral force on the border between us and Rwanda because that force would prevent them from continuing their war,” said government spokesman, Lambert Mende
The DRC government believes Rwanda is supporting the rebels, a claim backed by the United Nations which has thousands of troops in Goma.
U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon appealed for an end to what he called, “this destabilising assistance”. The rebels have fought four days of battles to get close to Goma.