Congo accuses Rwandan spy cell of plot to shoot down president’s plane

M23 Congo RwandaTHE GOVERNMENT OF THE Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has dismantled an alleged Rwandan spy network and has charged its members with plotting to assassinate the country’s president. This development, which was announced late last week by authorities in Kinshasa, has plunged relations between the two neighboring countries into a new low.

The DRC has long accused Rwanda of training and equipping members of the so-called March 23 Movement (M23), who have been engaged in a decade-long conflict with the Congolese state in the North Kivu province. Since March of last year, DRC government forces have been engaged in a major offensive against the M23, but the rebel group continues to control several strategic towns and villages in North Kivu. Meanwhile, Rwanda has accused the DRC of using the offensive as a pretext to invade Rwanda. Late last year, the Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) captured Congolese territory, in what authorities in Kigali described as an attempt to create a buffer zone between Rwanda and the DRC military offensive. In response, the DRC suspended a host of bilateral agreements with Rwanda and expelled the Rwandan ambassador from Kinshasa.

Last Thursday, the DRC’s Deputy Minister of the Interior, Jean-Claude Mandongo, posted a video on social media, announcing the arrest of several members of an alleged Rwandan spy ring. According to Mandongo, the spy ring consisted of two alleged Rwandan spies and two Congolese accomplices. The two Rwandans have been identified in DRC media reports as Dr. Juvenal Nshimiyimana and Moses Mushabe, who is allegedly a serving intelligence officer in the RDF. According to Mandongo, the two Rwandans were stationed in the DRC in a non-official-cover capacity, as employees of a humanitarian non-governmental organization called African Health Development Organization (AHDO).

Authorities in the DRC seem to believe that the AHDO serves as a proprietary cover for Rwandan intelligence, although they have provided no evidence for this claim. Officials in Kinshasa also claim that Rwandan spies are operating in other AHDO branches across the DRC. Statements from the Ministry of the Interior suggest that more arrests of alleged Rwandan spies are imminent. According to DRC officials, AHDO facilities were strategically located adjacent to the N’djili International Airport in Kinshasa, in order to monitor the movements of the presidential air fleet. In a report published on Tuesday, DRC authorities claimed that the alleged Rwandan spy cell planned to assassinate DRC President Félix Tshiskedi, by shooting down his presidential jet. The Rwandan government has rejected these claims.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 04 January 2023 | Permalink

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