By: Robert Patrick Fati Gakwerere
The Rwanda’s backed M23 armed group has carried out summary executions and forced recruitment of civilians in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, says a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) that was published on Monday, 6th February 2023.
The report titled “DR Congo: The atrocities of the M23 rebellion, supported by Rwanda”, notes the fact that the warring parties are increasingly appealing to ethnic loyalties, exposing civilians in remote areas of the North Kivu Province at increased risks of attacks.
“The Rwandan-backed M23 rebels in North Kivu are leaving a growing series of war crimes against civilians in their wake. Rwanda should end its military support to the M23, while Congolese government troops should prioritize the protection of civilians and stop using abusive militias as proxy forces,” said Thomas Fessy, Principal Researcher on DR Congo at Human Rights Watch.
A 38-year-old woman said she was at home in Kishishe with her husband and three children when a group of M23 fighters kicked down the door.
“They took my husband and our son by force and took them outside; they said to me: “You, mum, lock yourself in the house, if you go out you will be killed!” “, she explained. “So I closed the door behind them. They went with them a few meters away and they shot at them, I was looking through a hole [in the door],” she adds.
Her husband was seriously injured but survived. Their 25-year-old son died.
Recent investigations by the UN Group of Experts on the DR Congo, as well as research by Human Rights Watch, provides significant evidences – photographic and otherwise – that not only is Rwanda providing logistical support to the M23, but that the Rwandan troops are continuously reinforcing the armed group or fight alongside it on Congolese territory.
The resumption of hostilities between the M23, the Congolese army and several other armed groups has forced more than 520,000 people to flee their homes, according to the United Nations. This has exacerbated an already dire security and humanitarian situation in North Kivu and more broadly, eastern DR Congo.
Humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières has warned of a potential health disaster as cholera spreads rapidly through camps for displaced people on the outskirts of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province.
Back to my usual outcry, the Greatlakes region will never see or taste any peace as long as criminal Paul Kagame is still the ruler of Rwanda.