Bujumbura, Burundi – Intense gunfights are reported between the FNL armed group and Burundian soldiers supported by the DRC`s (Democratic Republic of the Congo) army around the Rukoko reserve since Wednesday this week according to a source close to the chief of staff of the FNL armed group Major General Nzabampema Aloys.

The same source stated that Burundian soldiers crossed the Burundi border and set bases along the Rusizi River to prevent FNL fighters seeking to retreat into the DRC from Rukoko. If this information about the combats is verified, it would confirm the statements of Major General Nzabampema Aloys of January 10, 2018, in a video, according to which the armed movement of FNL armed group does not collaborate with the Government of Burundi as it was revealed by his former colleague General Major Ntahonkuriye Jean Felix in a video message on January 5, 2018.

Our source also asserted that the Burundian soldiers surround themselves by entrenchments as if they were in their own country, which raises questions of respect for the territorial sovereignty of the DRC and the violation of Burundian constitutional precepts.

Const. of Burundi

This is not the first-time Burundian soldiers are inviting themselves in the territory of the DRC without an approval from the Burundian parliament. As a reminder, in 2014 the spokesman of the Burundian army Colonel Baratuza Gaspard refuted reports of the presence of Burundian soldiers on the DRC soil to train Ibonerakure (the ruling party youth wing also considered ruling party militia) in the region of Kiliba-Ondes, but soon after MONUCO soldiers confirmed the presence of Burundian soldiers in the DRC the same spokesperson for the Burundian army quickly changed his version and acknowledged  the presence of some Burundian soldiers on the DRC soil as part of information exchange.