Inviting Rwandan soldiers into eastern Democratic Republic of Congo carries a “high risk of collateral damage”, the parliamentary speaker has told the BBC.

Up to 4,000 Rwandan troops have poured over the border since Tuesday for a joint operation with the Congolese army against the Rwandan Hutu FDLR militia.

Vital Kamerhe said the push should be led by forces enjoying popular support.rwanda

Meanwhile the DR Congo authorities have reopened roads to aid convoys and UN peacekeeping troops in the area.

The Congolese military shut checkpoints in North Kivu province after Rwandan troops arrived three days ago, triggering fears of a bloody conflict out of sight of the international community.

BBC East Africa correspondent Peter Greste says that given the reputation of all the region’s armed groups for gross human rights abuses, concerns are well-founded. There have been no reports of any clashes so far.

The parliament’s speaker told the BBC’s Network Africa programme: “I must insist on the fact that we cannot today ask the Rwandan army to turn up on Congolese territory, especially in Kivu, without a high risk of collateral damage.”

Rwanda has twice invaded DR Congo in recent years and correspondents say many Congolese are likely to distrust their soldiers’ presence on Congolese territory.

Congolese President Joseph Kabila has been criticised for not informing parliament about the invitation to Rwandan troops.

DR Congo’s ambassador to the UN, Atoki Ileka, said the operation, agreed last month, was necessary to end the violence in the east of the country.

It heralds an unprecedented level of co-operation between neighbours who until now have been openly hostile, our correspondent says.



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