The Current Security Situation of Banyamulenge in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Banyamulenge concentrated in Minembwe Centre and Mikenke

Summary of the Current Security Situation of Banyamulenge” Policy Brief . 

The paper has been produced by authors (Delphin Rukumbuzi Ntanyoma; Alex Mvuka Ntung; and Jean Pierre Mujyambere) and aims to warns overs of any risk of Banyamulenge’s extermination (expulsion) in the High Plateau of Bijombo, Minembwe, Itombwe and Kamombo, their Homeland.

The argument builds on how members of this community are currently concentrated in small villages of Minembwe Centre and Mikenke and few villages in Bijombo groupement (See the featured image). These localities comprised over than 300 villages which were destroyed within 6 months (Minembwe, Itombwe, and Kamombo); while in Bijombo this new tactics emerged between April 2107- January 2018. These few localities where they are concentrated are regularly attacked by Maimai allied to foreign armed groups, maily Burundian of Red-Tabara, FOREBU/FPB and FNL. Attacks have reached a threat of entering Minembwe Centre, 3-5 Kms away of Monusco’s Base in Minembwe and specifically, the office of Minembwe rural Municipality. The hand and responsibility of countries supporting these foreign groups have to be condamned and stop.

Banyamulenge concentrated in Minembwe and Mikenke. They are facing regular attacks. Crossing Mikenke to Minembwe remains of high concern. Some of these localities of Minembwe are part of Itombwe Sector

Contesting the decree conferring Minembwe (inhabited by countless ethnic communities) has been a leitmotiv of recent mobilization. However, contesting the Government decision is grounded on contesting Banyamulenge as Congolese citizens. Hence, narratives refers to them as ‘invaders, foreigners, strangers, hegemonic Tutsi’. Bijombo groupement located in Uvira Territory has gone similar move of contestation since long ago until local contenders found supports and tactics of burning villages to have Banyamulenge who have limited option of fleeing to either die or choose an exit for ever. The definition of ‘invaders’ is traced back from the colonial literature.

Green shows limits of Kamombo. In red, few villages of Kamombo region that haven’t yet been burnt down. Many of Kamombo’s population have moved to Mikenke

With its all backdrop and flaws, colonial literature has been reproduced and reinforced through recurrent violence in the region. Therefore, fighting ‘invaders’ is considered heroic; that is why, demonstrations to contest a Rural Municipality have been taking place in New York, Brussels, Manchester, Johhanesburg, Kinshasa, Goma and Bukavu.. Social Medias have turned this debate as the most important within the Congolese politics and Martin Fayulu declared in Kinshasa that Minembwe Rural Municipality is an entry point to annex some regions of Congo to neigbhoring country.

“Green’ territorial limit of Bijombo. Encircled in red are few villages in Bijombo groupement that survived the burning at ashes military tactics. Bijombo groupement had roughly around 60 Banyamulenge’s villages

Concentrated in small villages, attacked regularly while the national army has stood indifferently grounds the fear of any possible extinction of this community in South-Kivu. Our concerns are based on past experience such as Ngandja (1971), Vyura-Moba (1998), Ndandja-Mirimba (1996-98); countless targeted attacks to Banyamulenge community (1996-1998, 2004)… where Banyamulenge have been either expelled from these localities or killed simply for being as such. Such ideology coupled with increasing military capability in the hand Maimai is inevitably leading to a disaster. This time, they are being concentrated to squeeze them. Having been portrayed as ‘invaders’ and the source of the evil facing the Congolese society, one can read that the disaster is facing an indifference of civil society organizations, the Nobel Prize hasn’t yet referred to it; the general opinion remains indifferent and possibly that there would be a huge contestation of authors’ stance.

Few villages that survived in Itombwe and local population from this region are concetrated in Mikenge. They can hardly reach Minembwe (20Kms) because of insecurity.

Besides how they concentrated in few villages; more than 40,000 of their cattle have been looted by these militias who accumulate financial capacity to mobilize by rewarding and access ammunitions and guns. Having said that, authors recognize that there have been damages of violence on other members of Banyamulenge neigbhoring communities though they have option to flee in different direction as many have stayed with Banyamulenge but also there is no ideology behind to expel them from Congo. 

Click here to read the paper “Current Security of Banyamulenge” in detail 

Authors

  • Delphin Rukumbuzi Ntanyoma: MA in Development Economics, PhD researcher in Conflict Economics (Eastern Congo) and expert on Political and Security dynamics of of the Great Lakes Region of Africa. Blogger on easterncongotribune.com; E-mail: rkmbz1973@gmail.com
  • Alex Mvuka Ntung: MA in Anthropology of Conflict, Violence and Conciliation, MSc in International Conflict Analysis. PhD researcher International Conflict Analysis. Expert on Political and Security dynamics in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. E-mail: expertadvisory@yahoo.co.uk twitter: @alexmvuka
  • Jean Pierre Mujyambere: LLM in International and European Public Law. Advanced Master in Human Rights. PhD researcher on African Regional and Sub-Regional Mechanisms of Human Rights Protection and International Businesses. Expert in international human rights law and political dynamics in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. E-mail: mujyambereru@gmail.com
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PhD fellow @ErasmusUnivRotterdam/ISS: Microeconomic Analysis of Conflict. Congolese, blogger advocating 4r Equitable Redistribution of Ressources & national wealth as well as & #Justice4All #DRC In the top of that, proud of being "villageois"

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