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Rwanda Accused of Deadly Drone Attack on Airport in Eastern DR Congo

Rwanda Accused of Deadly Drone Attack on Airport in Eastern DR Congo

BY ADAM SCHUPAK February 19, 2024 0 COMMENTS

The Democratic Republic of the Congo's (DRC) military has accused Rwanda's military of attacking an airport in eastern DRC as fighting escalates in the region. 


Goma International Airport (GOM) | Photo: Achieve Global Safaris


The Incident


Lieutenant-Colonel Guillaume Ndjike Kaito, a spokesperson from North Kivu province, where the attack occurred, said about the incident:


"On the night of Friday to Saturday, at 2 o-clock in the morning local time, there was a drone attack by the Rwandan Army. It had obviously come from the Rwandan territory, violating the territorial integrity of the Democratic Republic of the Congo." 


According to Kaito, the supposed Rwandan drone attacked Goma International Airport (GOM) with a single bomb. Local news sources reported that a Congolese Sukhoi Su-25 fighter jet was damaged by the bomb as well as another civilian aircraft. However, these reports are unsubstantiated. The bombing forced air traffic to cease for several hours as local authorities and the military inspected the damage. 


An Airbus A320 operated by the DRC's flag carrier, Congo Airways | Photo: Wikimedia Commons


Goma International Airport (GOM)


Goma International Airport (GOM) is a regional hub for aviation and the economy (through cargo) of the North Kivu province and DRC regions bordering Rwanda. The airport currently serves 11 destinations, with the most popular route being Goma (GOM) to Kinshasa N'Djili (FIH). Two airlines serve the route: the regional airline Compagnie Africaine d'Aviation (CAA) and the DRC's state-owned flag carrier Congo Airways.


CAA and Congo Airways offer flights to the following Congolese destinations from Goma:


  • Beni (BNC)
  • Bunia (BUX)
  • Kavumu (BKY)
  • Kindu (KND)
  • Kisangani (FKI)


Goma has flights to three international destinations:


  • Addis Ababa (ADD) on Ethiopian Airlines
  • Nairobi (NBO) on Jambojet
  • Kigali (KGL) on RwandAir


Photo: Sebastien Gigot | AeroXplorer


The Conflict


The DRC's North Kivu region has been embroiled in conflict since 2012. For 12 years, a rebel group named M23 has been fighting with the Congolese military and government in the North Kivu region, with support from Rwanda. Rwanda's military has been supporting the M23 movement in a bid for the Rwandan government to secure valuable resources in the North Kivu region. 


Rwandan support of M23 has involved using drones in the past, as well as missiles. The conflict has been ramping up in severity and scale in recent months, with M23 now presiding over vast swaths of North Kivu province. Rwanda has denied involvement in the movement and the drone attack at Goma Airport despite proof of the country's involvement with M23.



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Adam Schupak
Hey there! I'm Adam, a passionate avgeek absolutely obsessed with everything that flies. I'm a student glider pilot, but have the ultimate ambition of become a commercial airline pilot. Besides aviation, I'm also passionate about urban design, civil engineering, and trains.

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