Goma – Democratic Republic of Congo soldiers sought to stave off a rebel advance on the key eastern city of Goma on Monday as neighbouring Rwanda - accused of backing the rebels - charged that Kinshasa forces had bombed its territory just across the border in the powderkeg region.
The DRC army "has deliberately this evening bombed Rwanda using T55 tanks and mortar bombs", General Joseph Nzabamwita told AFP, saying the assault had targeted the area around the airport in Gisenyi, located just a kilometre from the border.
Nzabamwita said the Democratic Republic of Congo army had also fired anti-aircraft missiles at nearby Mount Rubavu and that in all two civilians had been killed and seven others injured and taken to hospital in Gisenyi.
He said casualty numbers would likely rise further as others were brought in from local health centres.
A DRC army spokesperson said no cross-border attack had been ordered and that it may have been the work of a lone individual.
"An investigation is under way," Colonel Olivier Hamuli told AFP. "If that was done there was no formal order from the military hierarchy. If it's an isolated act it involves only one individual."
On the other hand, he claimed that mortar fire had been aimed at DRC from Rwanda in recent days and that soldiers had been wounded.
Amid a looming humanitarian crisis, fresh fighting broke out Monday on the outskirts of Goma, where only a kilometre now lies between government forces and the rebels massed at the city's gates.
Witnesses reported weapons fire in districts to the north and northwest of Goma, the main city in the mineral-rich region, causing residents to flee south or towards the Rwanda border.