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Thursday, March 23, 2017
Mai Mai Militia Continues to Kill Banyamulenge in Southern Kivu, while the DRC government remains Silent
Today, mulenge villages are again mourning another tragic death of one of it's sons murdered by Mai Mai militias in the village of Gatanga, (Mulenge) in the southern Kivu province of the DRCongo. The deceased is called Gapapa, the son of Ndege, who was a civilian attacked and killed on the spot by the mai mai troop. This killing is following hundreds of other such brital killings of Banyamulenge people in Kalemie, in Shaba.
Every month there a dizaine of Banyamulenge, men and women killed by a band militia Mai Mai thugs at a significantly higher rate than the rest of the population in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The most disturbing reality is to see how these militias have been given the uttermost freedom to operate even in government supposedly controlled areas and are not deterred by the government forces. While the Melange high plateau is a secluded rural area where human right organizations seldomly arrive, the local media have been reporting the high outcry of the local population accusing the Congolese law enforcement of failing to protect the population from violence, disappearances and murder, while calling for an inquiry into the matter.
Not only the Banyamulenge people in eastern Congo have been a target of violence by the Mai Mai militia, it's important to note that their women and girls are at greater risk for sexual victimization by these murders and sexual predators, who have been acting as serial killers, and unpunished criminals.
In light of this report of systematic killing of civilian population in Mulenge, which has made headlines for some time now, the Journal Minembwe sparks a fresh outrage by asking for an international human right inquiry into the disappearances, and systematic killings of Banyamulenge people in their villages, and why it is not high on the Congolese government's radar. This question must be answered by government officials: how can the UN forces in eastern Congo whose sole mission is supposedly to stop armed groups in eastern Congo has failed to disarmed a small band of ethnic armed group called Mai Mai? Why is always the case for the UN forces to willing decide to not protect the civilian population especially and specifically when the victims are Tutsis,
but act promptly when other ethnic groups face violence? How come there is no single instance where the UN forces have taken an initiative to disarm the Mai Mai militia despite the fact that it has been killing the civilian population in Mulenge for over a decade? Is it to justify their stay in that country? It's obviously the case considering how they have used this opportunity to enrich themselves at the expense of the local population. The another question is how can the DRC government justify their lack of action when it comes to disarm the Mai mai group? Could it be also because the victims of the violence are the Tutsi population? It goes without saying that the Banyamulenge people have been attacked by the government forces at more than occasion in the past. One wonders whether the saying that: " qui a bu boira" may not be the reality in place; and the sad story is that even the members of the same victimized population currently in the government either soldiers or civilians may have not been singing the "Que sera, sera" chorus.
In any case, in this report, Journal Minembwe has found that Banyamulenge frequently suffer more severe forms of violence than non-Banyamulenge in Congo. Banyamulenge people elsewhere in all provinces in DRCongo are also more likely to fear for their lives as a result of ethnic violences from their neighbors and sometimes even government forces whenever there is political or civil conflicts in their own country.
A lack of safe, and peaceful environment in their respective villages has caused not only a massive exodus of Banyamulenge villagers fleeing for their lives and going to neighboring countries, but also can keep the country in unsafe and instable situations, in the event it causes them to also pick arms and defend themselves through unsafe and violent means, such as forming rebel groups due to the fact that the government has failed to protect them and left them to become vulnerable to predators.
Journal Minembwe is strongly calling for the support of national and international action plan or a nationwide inquiry into the issue of systematic killing of Banyamulenge men, women and youth by a seemingly government supported militia group. Here we say government supported due to the fact that there has not been proof of government forces using vigorous means to stop and disarm Mai Mai groups; because this is a very small and unsophisticated armed group. There is undeniable evidence of lack of political will in the DRC to disarm the ennemies of the Banyamulenge Tutsi population in that country.
However, there is an obligation by the Congolese government and other national and international human right organizations to treat this as a human rights issue. The Congolese based human right organizations often demands the DRC and other nations to live up to their human rights obligations, but have been ignoring the violence committed against Banyamulenge population as a Congolese government's own problem.
All we are saying here is that the government of DRC has the obligation to protect its population, and the human rights organizations puts the people who are harmed at the centre regardless of their ethnic background, race or religions; and the people who are harmed now the Banyamulenge people in eastern Congo want protection, and justice. Journal Minembwe is calling for your action by bringing forth this issue to your attention and no one will never claim the lack of information on this matter.