RwandAir flights halted in the DRC due to alleged rebels backing.


After authorities accused Rwanda of helping the M23 rebel group, the Democratic Republic of Congo said it would stop RwandAir flights and summoned Kigali’s ambassador.

Kinshasa alleged this week that Rwanda was supporting the March 23 Movement, which Rwanda denies, as the Congolese army and militia clashed again in the country’s east.

An official from the Democratic Republic of Congo warned late Friday that the country will take “conservative measures” against Rwanda, including barring flights from the national carrier.

The decision was made after an exceptional meeting of the Superior Defence Council, which was led by Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi.

“It was decided to immediately suspend flights from the RwandAir aviation company to the Democratic Republic of Congo,” stated Communications Minister Patrick Muyaya.

RwandAir replied on Saturday by canceling all flights to Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, and Goma “with immediate effect,” according to a statement.

According to the Congolese government, the Rwandan government is aiding M23 rebels in the country’s east, citing military equipment allegedly discovered, as well as local testimonials and photographs obtained by soldiers.

Kinshasa also accuses Kigali of sabotaging a peace initiative mediated by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who now holds the East African Community’s rotating presidency.