Home NewsNational Goma Protests: Did Tshisekedi Incite Masses Against EAC Regional Force?

Goma Protests: Did Tshisekedi Incite Masses Against EAC Regional Force?

by Edmund Kagire
4:13 pm

Tshisekedi confronts the EACRF Commander Gen. Nyagah as President Ruto looks on.

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President, Felix Antoine Tshisekedi has been accused of inciting masses against the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF) deployed in the volatile eastern part of his country to restore peace.

The Congolese leader was seen haranguing the commander of EACRF, Gen. Jeff Nyagah, during the 20th Extraordinary EAC Heads of State Summit held in Bujumbura, Burundi over the weekend, accusing him of favouring the M23.

A seemingly angry Tshisekedi, through an interpreter, attacked the Kenyan commander before his own President, William Samoei Ruto, telling him to do the right thing and fight the M23 or risk facing the wrath of the population.

“Do not favor the M23. It would be a shame if the population were to attack you. You came to help us solve a problem, not to be part of it. Pay attention to this, communicate with the population,” Tshisekedi told a calm looking Gen. Nyagah.

Just hours after the meeting in Bujumbura, which called for a ceasefire and dialogue between the DRC government and armed groups, protest intensified in the eastern capital of Goma, where demonstrators were targeting the regional force and the United Nations Peacekeeping Force (MONUSCO), accusing them of failing to restore peace.

Chaos erupted as protesters ransacked the eastern capital on Monday, blocking roads and looting shops while young people attempted to march towards the Rwanda-DRC border. Observers have linked the demonstrations to President Tshisekedi’s rhetoric on the regional force.

Border patrol shot it in the air to disperse the protestors who were chanting anti-Rwanda slogans and Tutsi hate speech while people suspected to be Rwandans or of Tutsi ethnicity were attacked. The streets of Goma were strewn by broken chairs and rocks while video showed people looting from shops and stores.

Meanwhile, M23 rebels announced that populations were returning in areas under their control after operations aimed at disbanding armed groups allied to government forces FARDC which they say were carrying out ethnic killings. In February 3 statements, the rebels urged people dispersed by conflict to return to their homes.

“We also guarantee the security of those of our compatriots fleeing the insecurity imposed by the government coalition.” the rebels said, calling on regional leaders to implore Kinshasa to engage in dialogue.

Tensions have escalated in the past 24hrs, following the shooting of a MONUSCO helicopter, in which one South African peacekeeper was killed and another one injured. The helicopter came under fire while travelling from Beni to Goma, North Kivu province.

The M23 rebels have distanced themselves from the fatal shooting, pointing out that contrary to what is being said on the internet, pointing out that no incidents have happened in M23-controlled areas.

Maj. Willy Ngoma, the military spokesperson of M23 said that the government is trying to play smart in a bid to incite MONUSCO to fight the rebels but it will backfire. The UN Secretary-General António Guterres strongly condemned the attack on the blue helmets and called for immediate investigations.

M23 says people have returned to their homes in the areas under their control.


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