Goma: large-scale protests

Goma: large-scale protests

The city of Goma (capital of North Kivu, eastern DRC) woke up in great tension on Monday morning following a protest against the regional force of the EAC. The protesters also denounce “Rwanda’s support of M23” and “the progress of the March 23 movement towards Goma”. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

Since 5 a.m., the Afia Bora Katoyi axis was barricaded by demonstrators who went down to the Instugo roundabout around 8 a.m. to block the road.

At that time, the national road number 2 Goma – Sake was also barricaded with stones.

No one could leave the Mungunga neighborhood to the city center.

“We call on the EAC force to return home. We ask Rwandans to return to their homes, we ask the FARDC to fight the enemy including the M23 rebels and other rebel groups who are destabilizing eastern DRC,” protesters chanted.

They are protesting against the decisions that came out of the 20th EAC Heads of State Summit held in Bujumbura, Burundi last weekend. The EAC Presidents’ summit decided to reinforce troops of the regional force. The leaders also called for an end to the violence and an immediate ceasefire.

A situation considered confused by Congolese.

“Today we no longer need the regional force because we have seen it is always alongside the enemy. I believe that our FARDC army is strong. It can put an end to this aggression, ”thinks Léon Mumbere, a protester.

This demonstration was organized despite a call through a press release of the collective of citizens’ movements and pressure groups of the province of North Kivu which had called on the population to go about their activities freely, evoking “political manipulation”.

The demonstrators also attacked Monusco, which does not always manage to carry out the mission for which it was sent, that of fighting the M23 and other armed groups, according to them.

According to the organizers, it is also an opportunity to “denounce the progress of M23 terrorists in the territory of Masisi and towards the city of Goma”.

“As the regional force is unable to fight the M23, it must leave our country, the DRC is not a dustbin where all the rubbish will, always be, thrown to help us”, protested Jacques Sinzayera, local activist.

A few shots were heard in the city center of the Majengo neighborhood, the hottest in the city.

Despite the deployment of a large force of police elements, the situation seems to be degenerating because according to some witnesses, several businesses and two churches created by members of Rwandophone communities living in the DRC, have been vandalized.

In an interview, a representative of a part of civil society in Goma confirms that it has decreed a dead city throughout the province which could last six days.

“The dead city is decreed by civil society to say no to the regional force of the EAC, which is ineffective on the ground and which has come as if to assist, it looks like scouts. We would like to see an offensive force and not to mediate with the M23. Through these demonstrations, we want the Head of State to send this force, which is useless for us,” said Aimé Makanda, a member of local civil society.

Last weekend, Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi raised his voice.

“You didn’t come to support the M23 and it’s a shame that the population is attacking you. You came to help us. You didn’t come to have problems. So be really attentive to that, be attentive to that. Answer the questions of the people, communicate with the people”, hammered President Tshisekedi to the commander-in-chief of the EAC, Major General Jeff Nyagah, originally from Kenya, in the presence of the Kenyan president. William Ruto on the sidelines of the 20th summit of heads of state of the East African community.

Rwanda has always denied accusations that it supports the M23. Rather, it accuses the Congolese authorities of “collaborating with the Rwandan genocidaires FDLR by providing them with uniforms, weapons and ammunition”, with the aim of “destabilizing his territory”.

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