Congolese refugees in Rwanda stage protests to denounce ’ongoing Genocide in DRC’

By Esther Muhozi
On 4 March 2024 at 05:10

Congolese refugees, who have been residing in the Kiziba camp located in the Karongi District, staged a peaceful protest to denounce the ongoing genocide against their compatriots remaining in their home country, including members of the Tutsi, Banyamulenge, and Bahema ethnic groups.

The protesters carried signs calling for the Democratic Republic of Congo’s government and the international community to put an end to the genocide being perpetrated against their relatives.

Some signs bore messages such as "We condemn the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, We condemn Burundi, we condemn SADC, we condemn FDLR."

Albert Methode Nsengamungu, the manager of the Kiziba camp, expressed that the protest was against the killings of Tutsis in Congo. He stated, "This genocide being committed by the Congolese government of Kinshasa involves killing Tutsis in North Kivu, in Ituri. Today, we strongly condemn the Kinshasa government that continues to kill our relatives, as we ourselves have been in exile for a long time and are also suffering."

Nsengamungu mentioned that countries including Burundi and those in the SADC, rather than aiding the DRC in bringing peace to their country, are instead supporting actions that harm Tutsis.

He highlighted, "The latest news we have [about the worsening situation], and even today and yesterday, the killings continue. What we ask from the international community is to speak on our behalf, to restore security in that area and ensure Tutsis are given their rights and not continue to be killed."

Another interviewee, who has spent 28 years in exile in the Kiziba camp in Rwanda, described life in the camp as dire and lamentable, a life they do not wish upon anyone. They are protesting against President Tshisekedi and his allies, including the Interahamwe who have caused devastation.

They accused them of committing atrocities in the DRC along with President Ndayishimiye of Burundi, SADC forces, South Africa, and other malefactors.

"All of them have evil within them. They are killers whom we urge the international community to apprehend, as they were supposed to bring peace but instead they have caused the loss of lives and property, burning down entire villages. It’s genocide."

A parent who has lived in Rwanda for 28 years discussed the challenges and the long journey they have faced, emphasizing, "Now we are denouncing the genocide being committed against Tutsis back in the DRC, our homeland. We want advocacy so that we can leave this life. We see it. People are being killed while the international community watches."

"Here, we also have new refugees from Congo, sharing the harrowing experiences they’ve endured and the atrocities committed against them. Some are traumatized. We ask the international community to stop the killings of Tutsis in Congo."

These refugees include individuals who have spent 28 years in Rwanda fleeing violence, as well as those born in Rwanda, all of whom express sorrow over not knowing their homeland.

As of January 2024, Rwanda hosts 135,343 refugees, including those from the Democratic Republic of Congo.