Voices are being raised in the DRC to demand justice in North Kivu.
“We have reached the height of inhumanity in Goma”, thunders Jean-Claude Mputu, Congolese political scientist and researcher co-signer of an open letter to the Congolese. Entitled “Carnage in Goma, Congo mourns its dead and demands justice”, this letter signed by numerous citizen movements and non-political figures aims to draw attention to the massacre of several dozen unarmed civilians on August 30 in the early morning , in the streets of Goma, capital of the North Kivu province.
That Wednesday, dozens of men from the presidential guard stormed a “church” where there were members of a mystical-religious movement which campaigns in particular for the departure of UN troops from the Democratic Republic of Congo . A demonstration was announced during the day against the presence of foreign troops in Goma. “But there is no justification for attacking a church like this before a demonstration even begins.”, explains a city elected official who prefers to remain anonymous. Several sources report a rumor that Rwandans were in the church. “Even with this explanation, the outbreak of violence is unacceptable,” continues the chosen one.
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Without care, without warning, the soldiers opened fire, according to several injured people, some of whom were outside the building and were hit by “stray bullets”. ” It was shooting, it was screaming in all directions”, explains one of them. “It was the apocalypse.”
The Congolese authorities have tried to minimize the violence and the toll of this military intervention. “Six dead including a police officer”, announced the first official press release. This was without counting on the images filmed on the sly by witnesses, a few minutes after the assault. We see numerous bodies dragged across the ground like merchandise. “Thrown and stacked in trucks, like merchandise”explains one of the people who managed to film these moments.
We want to stifle this new massacre”
“Without the reaction of the inhabitants of Goma, the authorities would have quickly forgotten this massacre. continues Jean-Claude Mputu. “We will have to wait three days for the President of the Republic Félix Tshisekedi to deign to condemn these facts during the council of ministers”, continues Mr. Mputu. “The Prime Minister will have to justify the intervention of a special forces unit of the Republican Guard in this operation when the said demonstration had not yet started. explains for his part the national deputy Jean-Baptiste Muhindo Kasekwa, elected from Goma, in a parliamentary question asked to the head of the Congolese government, silent since the events.
On Saturday September 2, two deputy prime ministers will be sent to the site. Interior Minister Peter Kazadi and his Defense counterpart Jean-Pierre Bemba. “What do you want them to do four days after the fact. They were booed by the population and, paradoxically, this visit really helped to re-mobilize the Gomatraciens”, explains a local elected official. “In a normal country, these two ministers should at least offer their resignation in the face of such acts. At home, the Minister of the Interior continues to wander throughout the country while violent and unexplained deaths multiply, it is indecent. Look at the file of the former Minister of Transport and spokesperson for the Ensemble pour la République party Chérubin Okende found murdered in Kinshasa. Nothing is moving forward. It’s a crime in the heart of the capital. There was a pseudo-investigation, an autopsy which dates back a month today. But nothing filters through because this file, like many others, disturbs those in power.”
“The Congolese silence is unbearable, what can we say about that of the international community and especially Belgium.” asks Professor Bob Kabamba, also a co-signatory of the open letter. “With such events, under Joseph Kabila, there would have been condemnations in all directions of Belgian Foreign Affairs”, continues the professor from the University of Liège. “One might think that the DRC file has been taken out of the hands of Foreign Affairs as this ministry remains silent in all languages. Dozens of unarmed civilians were shot dead, images exist, they cannot be questioned and there was not the slightest outrage. It’s unbearable for the Congolese,” concludes Bob Kabamba.