Rwanda – DRC: voices raised against videos on social media targeting Rwandan speakers in the DRC

Photo credit, GUERCHOM NDEBO/AFP via Getty Images

Caption Image,

Congolese policemen try to control a crowd of residents of Goma gathering at the Petite Barière, the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, on June 17, 2022, after the death of a Congolese soldier accused of having crossed the border and shot at Rwandan security agents.

In recent days, messages have been promoting violence against Rwandan subjects circulating on social networks in the DRC. But more and more voices are being raised to condemn them. This intervenes on the funds of tensions between the DRC and Rwanda.

“Indeed there are images that shocked the world. We have seen through certain videos, posted in social networks, people from Kinshasa holding hate speech, xenophobic speeches vis-à-vis the Tutsi, the Tutsi living in Kinshasa”, says Gentiny Ngobila Mbala, the governor of Kinshasa, on BBC Africa.

Beyond the condemnation of the content of these videos, he declares having asked the security services to protect the Tutsi populations but also “to get their hands on all those who have uttered xenophobic speeches which are likely to lead to violence. “

The governor of South Kivu province, which shares a border with Rwanda, also released a statement yesterday to join national efforts to end xenophobic attacks.

This, after the murder this Sunday of a Rwandophone lynched and burned in the neighboring province of Maniéma, according to local media.

Congolese government spokesman Patrick Muyaya promised that anyone who threatens to attack Tutsi will be apprehended and face the full force of the law.

Among the personalities who have raised their voices is the Nobel Peace Prize winner, the famous doctor Denis Mukwege. A few weeks ago, he called on the population not to fall into discriminatory speeches which, according to him, will only benefit the enemies of the DRC.

As for the head of the UN mission in the country, she recalled that the stigmatization of part of the community undermines national cohesion, essential in such moments of crisis.

Bintou Keita called on the Congolese government to prosecute the authors of messages inciting hostility against people on the basis of their ethnicity or nationality.

In a message broadcast Sunday evening on national television, the Congolese Minister of the Interior, Daniel Aselo, warned against slippages during the mobilization of the population behind the armed forces of the DRC. In a firm tone, he declared that this conflict concerns the authorities and the armies of the two countries, but not the civilian population.

photo credits, GUERCHOM NDEBO/AFP via Getty Images

Caption Image,

Soldiers ride in a patrol car on National Road 2 bordering the area that was attacked by M23 rebels during clashes with the Congolese army in Kibumba, near the eastern town of Goma of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on June 1, 2022.

What is behind these xenophobic videos?

The resurgence of the rebel group Mouvement du 23 Mars on the border with Rwanda and Uganda has soured relations between Kinshasa and Kigali. The two countries accuse each other of supporting militias hostile to the other side, accusations which they reject.

East African countries should send a regional force to fight armed groups in eastern DRC. For the moment, the timetable for the deployment of this regional force has not been made public.

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