Rwanda's President Paul Kagame. Picture: Madoka Ikegami/Pool Photo via AP/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Johannesburg - President Paul Kagame has warned "enemies of Rwanda’ that they will be dealt with decisively. His warning comes at a time when the East African region is simmering with tension.

Kagame issued his warning on Tuesday as he made an appearance at the Rwanda Defence Forces drill dubbed “Exercise Hard Punch III” at Gabiro Combat Training Centre in the Eastern Province, the East African reported on Wednesday.

The president, who is also the commander-in-chief of the military, warned that while Kigali would not initiate any military confrontation Rwanda had the capabilities to deal with the enemy whenever necessary.

Tensions are particularly high with neighbouring Burundi, which Kigali accuses of harbouring what it labels as "subversives" from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, as well as other groups.

These include the Rwanda National Congress linked to dissident former army Chief of Staff, General Kayumba Nyamwasa.

Exacerbating tensions with another neighbour Uganda is a letter that was leaked last week in which Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza wrote to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni openly accusing Kigali of being an enemy of his government.

However, Burundi says Rwanda was behind the 2015 failed coup, harbours coup plotters and those aiming to destabilise the country. Kigali denies all the claims.

The tensions in the region are also impacting another of Rwanda’s neighbours, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where many Hutus fled following the 1994 genocide of mostly Tutsis. Hutu extremists were blamed for the mass murders.

Elections are expected on December 23 in the DRC as the country faces internal conflict in addition to the tensions with Rwanda.

African News Agency/ANA