Rwanda Denies Involvement In Grenade Attack Blamed On Burundi Rebels

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Rwanda has denied claims by neighboring Burundi that it armed a rebel group that was accused of carrying out a grenade attack, as relations between the two countries continue to be strained.

“We call on Burundi to solve its own internal problems and not associate Rwanda with such despicable matters,” government spokesperson Yolande Makolo said in a statement Sunday.

Burundi’s interior ministry blamed the grenade attack on Friday that injured 38 people on RED-Tabara rebels and said the group was backed by Rwanda. The rebel group denied responsibility for the attack.

Relations between Rwanda and Burundi have deteriorated since early this year when Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye renewed accusations that Rwanda was funding and training the RED-Tabara rebels, who oppose the Burundi government.

Burundian authorities consider RED-Tabara a terrorist movement and accuse its members of being part of a failed coup attempt in 2015. The group first appeared in 2011 and has been accused of a string of attacks in Burundi since 2015.

In January, the Rwandan government accused Burundi of closing the border between the two countries, two weeks after an attack that Burundi said was carried out by the RED-Tabara group.