The military in the Democratic Republic of Congo says it has expelled Rwandan soldiers attached to the command of the East African Community Regional Force based in the eastern town of Goma.
Congolese military said the Rwandan soldiers were expelled from the force “for security reasons” and “have already left Congolese soil”.
The regional force consists of soldiers from several East African countries who have joined the Congolese army, with the support of UN peacekeepers, in fighting rebel groups in eastern DR Congo.
The Congolese army claimed that Rwanda had in response recalled all its officers from DR Congo, but the authorities in Kigali have denied the claim.
“It is not Rwanda that has recalled the officers. It is DRC that has expelled them,” Rwanda’s army spokesperson Brig Gen Ronald Rwivanga told the BBC on Tuesday.
DR Congo had denied the involvement of Rwandan troops in the regional force that was deployed last year to the mineral-rich North Kivu province.
But it allowed a few Rwandan officers to be part of the force’s command as well as a security verification team.
Tensions between Kigali and Kinshasa worsened last week after Rwanda shot at a Congolese fighter jet near Goma airport.
Kinshasa accuses Kigali of supporting the M23 rebels, which the latter has consistently denied.