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DRC Set to Cut Ties With Rwanda

FILE - People walk on the road near Kibumba, north of Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, as they flee fighting between Congolese forces and M23 rebels in North Kivu, Tuesday May 24, 2022.

The Democratic Republic of Congo said on Wednesday that it is considering canceling all agreements with Rwanda, in the latest escalation of disagreements between the two African nations.

The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo announced late Wednesday that it is contemplating revoking all agreements with Rwanda, following a series of accusations by DRC officials that Rwanda is supporting rebel violence.

After attending the Supreme Defense Council, the minister of communication and spokesperson of the DRC government, Patrick Muyaya, said the group demanded that "all protocols of agreements, accords and conventions concluded with Rwanda" be suspended.

The escalating tensions came after the M23 rebel movement seized Bunagana, a key town in eastern DRC, on Monday.

Demonstrators in Goma called on the international community to intervene amid rising tensions.

"We want an effective condemnation. We follow the speeches of the United Nations every day, they condemn but in reality they do absolutely nothing," said Nelly Lumbulumbu, a protester from Goma.

An official with the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the DRC, known as MONUSCO, said Wednesday it could not confirm whether Rwandan or Ugandan forces helped the M23 rebel movement seize Bunagana.

For years, Rwanda's government has denied supporting the M23 rebel organization, blaming Congolese forces for hurting many people in cross-border shelling.

M23 has in turn accused Congolese officials of stoking xenophobia as many of them are Congolese ethnic Tutsis and Rwanda's president is of Rwandan Tutsi descent.

Relations between Rwanda and DRCongo have been fraught for decades.

Rwanda alleges that DRC gave refuge to the ethnic Hutus who carried out the 1994 Rwandan genocide that killed at least 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus.