The Kiziba camp in the Karongi District in Western Rwanda was one of the first camps where Congolese refugees arrived in 1996 when they were fleeing the massacre of Tutsis in North and South Kivu. The refugees have shown that the relationship between the FDLR and the RDC Government is one of the reasons they are harmed.
In the year 2019, there was hope that they were going to say goodbye to more than 20 years of exile when President Felix Tshisekedi came to power in Congo, but three years later that hope has been lost and they say that if he does not act, his relatives who are left in Congo may be destroyed forever.
The fear of Genocide against the Tutsi is wintering in the Congo, which is what made these refugees over 19 thousand in the Kiziba camp on this Wednesday, December 19, 2022 protest, asking the international community to put pressure on the DRC government and stop the killing of the Tutsi.
Those killed are Rwandan speakers from the Tutsi tribe, accused of being Rwandans or the names of M23, which is fueled by the hate speech of the country’s politicians.
Mariam, who has spent one year in the Kiziba camp, spoke to IGIHE and said that the root of the problem of insecurity in Eastern Congo is often ignored.
This non-Tutsi woman, who fled only because she was being hunted by her Tutsi friends, said: “The insecurity there is caused by armed groups and I do not blame those groups, because they tell us that the insecurity started in Eastern Congo in 1994 […] People, the international community, the Interahamwe were all mixed up to this day and cannot be separated. The Interahamwe took enough time to teach how to rape women, how to kill, how to beat children against walls, and all other bad things.”
He continued saying, “I don’t know what Mobutu did against Habyarimana until the members of the FDLR were protected more than the Congolese. Today, President Tshisekedi, who represents Congo, also decided to attack the FDLR, confirming that it is no longer a problem. Until now he has been the spokesperson of the FDLR.”
The FDLR group has long been known to cooperate with the Congolese Army (FARDC) and other groups operating in the Eastern part of the country, hunting Tutsi, harming and killing them. There is a report of the Secretary General of the UN in charge of combating genocide, which recently went out and gave the warning that the killings are happening to Tutsis in the DRC, leading to genocide.
The country is dead, it is a corpse…
Mariam also believes that there may be something hidden behind the interaction between the FDLR and the Congolese state.
He said, “Our enemy is the FDLR, why doesn’t Congo let them go? If there is a secret agreement signed without our knowledge, expel them to Rwanda from the East or take them to Ecuador where Habyarimana’s grave is.”
Mpayukuri Kayira, who has been in the Kiziba camp for 20 years, said that the massacre of Tutsis in the DRC recently reached his elder brother who was in the Congolese army and was killed because of his birth.
He said, “Major Kaminzobe is our cousin, he belongs to the State Army but he was killed by the State. The government represented the people and they killed him, burned him, and ate him. Even now, when you are taking pictures of me, they are saying, “If this one is healthy, we will eat it, and this belly will be full.”
Mpayukuri, who fled Rwanda at the age of 38, says that before the Genocide against the Tutsis in April 1994, they lived well with other ethnic groups living in that country.
He said, “The brutality practiced by the Interahamwe and the FDLR. During Mobutu’s reign, we lived well, yes they lived but they didn’t kill and now the Government is not there, the country is dead and a corpse.”
Ruhorimbere Alexis arrived in Rwanda as a child and has now graduated from the University while in a refugee camp.
Often in Congo, the expressions of local politicians show that those who call themselves refugees who speak Rwandan are Rwandans who do not have the right to fight to be Congolese.
Although Ruhorimbere Congo knows this partly because he has lived in exile for many years, he says that giving them international citizenship will not stop them from fighting to return to their homeland while the world continues to watch.
He said, “The Congolese state is not the one that creates Rwandans […] It is not the language that a person speaks that gives him citizenship. We are Congolese, we found out that our fathers and mothers were born there, and that is why the Congolese State is very wrong to call us Rwandans. If we were to be Rwandans today, we would not be in a refugee camp, we would be settled in villages, and we would be governed like other citizens.”
These people have asked the international community to advocate for the killing of their relatives in the country and they have been arrested to return to their country.
In fact, he said, “Whatever it is, we’ll go home and we’ll have something to do. We ask the UN to stand up and stop this massacre, not to watch as they watched in Rwanda and people die.”
These Congolese refugees protested after their colleagues from the camps of Kigeme, Mugombwa, and Mahama for several days demanding that the Congolese Government stop the killing of their relatives and help them escape. Rwanda hosts more than 70 thousand Congolese refugees, including those who first arrived in 1996