According to the Rwandan government, a fighter plane from the Democratic Republic of the Congo “violated” its airspace on Tuesday night, and “defensive measures were taken.”
Images posted on social media show a military plane being shot at as it passes over the towns of Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Gisenyi in Rwanda at a low altitude.
Other pictures show the damaged Sukhoi-25 aircraft, which was built in the Soviet Union, being cooled down with water at the Goma airport.
The DR Congo’s information ministry denounced the event in a statement and insisted that its flight had not crossed into Rwandan airspace.
It declared that the government had the “legal right” to protect itself and “does not intend to let this [event] go.”
“The government considers this umpteenth attack by Rwanda as a deliberate action of aggression that is equivalent to an act of war,” the ministry noted.
This was the third time a Congolese fighter jet has violated its airspace, according to Rwanda, which pleaded with its neighbor to “stop this aggression.”
A Congolese Sukhoi-25 aircraft made a quick landing at the Rwandan airport of Gisenyi in November. The fighter jet “mistakenly landed” there, according to Kinshasa.
Rwanda has consistently refuted accusations from the Democratic Republic of the Congo that it supports the M23 rebel group.
The most recent occurrence exacerbates the hostilities between the two neighbors.