President Laurent Kabila’s government has threatened war against neighbouring Rwanda after accusing it of masterminding the uprising in eastern Congo.

The rebellion has sparked a backlash of anger by some residents in Congo’s capital of Kinshasa against Congolese Tutsis – believed to be receiving support from Rwanda.

But, pictures from the capital shot earlier this week show people slowly drifting back to normal life after Monday’s curfew.

Although residents of Kinshasa are slowly trickling back into the city, the atmosphere remains tense.

On Tuesday, several Kinshasa businesses owned by Tutsis were reportedly robbed and burned by local residents after a dusk-to-dawn curfew was lifted.

The fresh rebellion in Congo has emerged from the same province where President Laurent Kabila began his revolution two years ago.

The uprising began about a week after Kabila ordered all Rwandan troops out of the country.

Kabila did not explain the move, and now faces his former allies in the biggest challenge to his government so far.

Rebels have seized control of the key cities of Bukavu and Goma and more fighting was reported in nearby towns, government and rebel sources reported.

The victories were accompanied by persistent reports that neighbouring Rwanda has sent troops into Congo and is orchestrating the rebellion.

Newspaper headlines underline this popular sentiment, declaring:

“The Rwandans are refusing to leave and are attacking the R-D-C.”

“Here is the outcome of the last discussions between the A-F-D-L and the U-D-P-S and Allies.”

“Not all the Rwandans have left.”


“The F-A-C are neutralising the Tsuti rebellion.”

Rwanda’s forces played a key role last year in Kabila’s victory over longtime Zairian dictator Mobutu Sese Seko – but the Rwandans did not admit their involvement until earlier this year.

Kabila’s government has said it will act quickly to quash any armed rebellions.

SOUNDBITE: (French) Paraphrased:
“These pirates are starting to destabilise our national security. Yesterday it was Bukavu and Goma, this morning these terrorist actions are continuing in other towns. ”
SUPER CAPTION: Terodia Aboloulange Ndmbassi, Director of Kabila’s cabinet

SOUNDBITE: (French) Paraphrased:
“We must pay attention to all our problems and we are going to take action to bring the country under control quickly and vigilantly.”
SUPER CAPTION: Mawapanga Mwana Nanga, Minister of Agriculture

SOUNDBITE: (French) Paraphrased
“The president of the Republic of Congo Kabila has said frequently that he wants to export African expertise and really develop Africa as a prosperous entity. We want to live intelligently with all our neighbours but with the integrity of our frontiers left in tact. But if mischief comes to us and those frontiers are threatened we will protect those frontiers from anybody, whoever it is.”
SUPER CAPTION: Terodia Aboloulange Ndmbassi, Director of Kabila’s cabinet

Rwanda trained and assisted the Banyamulenge, a group of Congolese Tutsis from eastern Congo who were being persecuted by Mobutu’s government and became Kabila’s key fighters.

Government officials say the same coalition of Banyamulenge and Rwandan fighters inspired the recent mutiny and a brief battle in Kinshasa on Monday.

Many see it as a struggle of the entire Congolese people.

SOUNDBITE: (French) Paraphrased
“If we don’t do anything about these people that are our enemies and that are on our soil and who won’t actually leave us alone, what do we do? Just leave them there? What’s the correct thing to do? We have to punish those people.”

Relations between the two countries have been strained in recent months.

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