Congolese took to streets in the morning of Wednesday 15th June 2022 for protests against Rwanda accusing the country of supporting M23 group in clashes with Congolese Army (FARDC).
The demonstrations took place in different places including Goma town in Northern Kivu Province and premises of Rwanda’s embassy in Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Those who participated in the protests include parliamentarians, representatives from civil society organizations, ordinary citizens, motorcyclists and traders among others.
In Goma, rioters turned violent and mounted demonstrations at the country’s small border with Rwanda commonly known as ’Petite Barrière’ where they threw stones on Rwandan territory.
Videos taken during the riots show Congolese protesting at the border while others pulled down advertising banners on Rwandans’ shops. Banners advertising RwandAir in Goma were also destroyed.
Young people participating in the protests are also seen running fast to loot Rwandans’ shops.
Sandro Shyaka, a businessman in Rubavu district with shops in Goma town is among affected traders.
The businessman was abducted recently on 12th May 2021 by unidentified people in Kimoka area located in 20 kilometers from Goma town as he travelled from Sake to Kitshanga in Masisi.
He was released on huge ransom paid by his family.
A journalist based in Goma has told IGIHE that the majority of the youth looting the shops are gangs hired to stage demonstrations even though some of them have been foiled.
He revealed that protestors including ‘the gangs attempted to break padlocks on Rwandans’ shops but foiled by Police’.
The journalist has also revealed that some of gangs have been brought together to receive warning against such violence.
On Tuesday, some Congolese attempted to assault Rwandan students but were arrested by Police and released in the evening.
The attacks to Rwandans continue to escalate in DRC where the gangs are reported to be prime masterminds orchestrating the assaults to loot their properties.
Meanwhile, there are opinion leaders and politicians who continue to fuel hatred against Rwandans and supporting the gangs’ violent acts.
The riots have also seen Rwandans halting movements to Goma lest they are assaulted after crossing into DRC.
Protests also attempted to storm Rwanda but Rwanda National Police foiled them.