At least one video of Congolese Air Force Sukhoi Su-25 attack aircraft being shot by Rwandan military man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) has been circulated on social media. In the video, the Su-25 flies at a low altitude and low speed above a residential area, in a state of dropping the landing gear to prepare to land. A rocket suddenly came and exploded behind the plane’s tail, creating a large fireball.
The incident is thought to have occurred in the city of Goma, near the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The Rwandan government has published a statement that explains that the Congolese jet had breached its airspace “for the third time” and that “defensive measures” were employed.
“Rwanda asks the DRC to stop this aggression,” the statement noted. On the other hand, Congo refuted Rwanda’s claim that the plane was in Rwandan airspace.
And even though the Su-25 Congo was hit by a Rwandan missile while landing, the pilot still managed to control the plane to land safely.
The plane narrowly escaped, continuing to fly towards the airport with part of its right wing on fire. Photos at the airport later showed the pilot climbing out of the cockpit, while the fuel in the right wing caught fire and flowed down the runway.
In a statement, Congo said, “The Rwandan shots were directed towards a Congolese aircraft flying within Congolese territory.”
“The DR Congo government strongly condemns and denounces the attack on its fighter plane by the Rwandan army in Congolese airspace and does not intend to let it go,” it said in a statement.
The countries have continued to exchange accusations as tensions in the region rose following clashes between DRC troops and the M23, a rebel group waging war against the Congolese government. Rwanda denied the allegations.