The Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda have accused each other of shelling, as hostility between the Central African neighbors escalates.
At least two Congolese children have been reportedly killed in the new hostility, the Congolese army said.
Cross-border artillery rocket attacks on Friday between the two neighbors are linked to a fresh offensive by the M23 rebel group that Congo says Rwanda is supporting.
As Congolese troops battled M23 rebels in a mountain area close to the border with Rwanda and Uganda, five rockets fired from Rwanda landed in Congolese territory, FARDC told the media.
“We recorded two children killed and one seriously wounded and also a school which was thoroughly damaged,” Congolese Army spokesperson Guillaume Ndjike Kaiko said on Friday.
Although, Rwanda is known to operate the Chinese-made CS/SH1 122mm 6×6 self-propelled howitzer, and a 122 mm SH3 tracked self-propelled gun-howitzer.
Responding to the accusation, in a 10 June press statement, the Rwandan military said that the DRC armed forces (FARDC) had earlier fired two 122 mm rockets into Rwanda from the Bunagana area where Congolese forces were battling M23 rebels.
The shelling occurred on Monday morning and lasted 21 minutes, it said, without giving further details.
“There were no casualties but the local population is terrified,” the Rwandan defence ministry said in a statement.
Congo, however, denied that its forces had used rockets of that caliber in the area. Nevertheless, a similar attack occurred on 19 March and 23 May in Kinigi and Nyange sectors of Musanze Districts, and in Gahunga Sectors of Burera Districts. Both attacks recorded casualties.
The dispute between Kigali and Kinshasa can be traced to Congo’s accusation that Rwanda is actively supporting M23, which has been waging its most sustained offensive in Congo’s eastern borderlands since capturing vast swathes of territory in 2012-2013.
Congolese Tutsi group, M23 is one of more than 120 armed groups that roam eastern DRC.
Rwanda denies this and in turn accuses Congo of fighting alongside the FDLR, an armed group run by ethnic Hutus who fled Rwanda after taking part in the 1994 genocide.
Both countries have a strained relationship since the mass arrival Hutus accused of slaughtering Tutsis during the 1994 Rwanda genocide.
Kinshasa has regularly accused Rwanda of carrying out incursions into its territory and of backing armed groups there.
Relations had begun to thaw after DRC President Felix Tshisekedi took office in 2019, but the recent resurgence of M23 violence has reignited tensions.
Both side has a history of cross-border skirmish.
In 18 November 2012, three people were reportedly wounded after soldiers of the Democratic Republic of Congo fired heavy weapons rounds into Rwandan territory.
There have also been clashes between the two countries in 2014, and 2021.