KINSHASA, Congo – The United Nations said Friday that foreign troops have crossed into Congo and called on outside forces to stop giving weapons and reinforcements to renegade soldiers battling army loyalists in Congo’s eastern borderlands.
The 11,000-strong U.N. peace force in Congo has stepped up missions in the vast nation’s east since fighting between rival factions in Congo’s postwar army broke out on Sunday – heightening fears of a return to all-out war.
The force “is convinced that foreign troops effectively entered Congo the day after threats issued by Rwanda on Nov. 23,” the mission said in a statement.
Rwandan leaders threatened to send troops into neighboring Congo to hunt down Rwandan Hutu extremists taking shelter there.
Weeks after the Rwandan threats, former Congolese rebel forces that were supported by Rwanda during the war in Congo – but who are now part of the postwar army – began fighting government loyalists near the Rwandan border.
The United Nations didn’t directly accuse Rwanda, Congo’s longtime foe, of sending troops across the border and it didn’t say if the troops are currently on Congolese soil.
Rwanda has twice before invaded Congo.