More than 4000 members of the Banyamulenge tribe in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have fled from their villages in Rurambo in the plains of Ruzizi and Nyabigega village in the middle of the Uvira plateau.
According to reports, these Banyamulenge were attacked over the weekend by the Mai-Mai militia group opposed to their stay in the country. Banyamulenge said they feel betrayed because the attackers stormed their villages located just one kilometre away from the FARDC military base and no intervention was provided.
“The Nyabigega village in the middle of the Uvira plateau on Tuesday was systematically destroyed,” according to eye witness accounts.
Banyamulenge are appealing to the Government of President Felix Tshisekedi to immediately intervene and save them from these barbaric attacks by Mai-Mai militia and other rebel groups loitering in the eastern part of the vast mineral rich country.
Banyamulenge have lived in the DR Congo for centuries but for a long time were not recognized as citizens of this vast mineral rich state. Former President Mobutu Seseseko signed a decree granting the Banyamulenge tribe an irrevocable citizenship.
“The Banyamulenge are Congolese,” President Felix Tshisekedi said in January 2020 during an interaction session with Congolese Diaspora in London, UK.
President Tshisekedi at his inaugural speech in January 2019 said he would deploy the army and remove all foreign armies and neutralize all local militias that are a threat to national security.
The province of South Kivu is infested with many armed groups, in particular the Raïa Mutomboki in the territories of Shabunda and Mwenga, the Mayi-Mayi in the territories of Uvira and Fizi, the inter-ethnic conflict in the high plateau of Bijombo, Minembwe and Itombwe, and many other groups.
According to the Congolese Army, this region hosts various armed groups, especially the foreign rebel forces CNRD, FDLR (Rwandan rebels) and FNL (From Burundi). In most attacks, these foreign rebel groups align with local militia to attack Banyamulenge families.
National Liberation Forces (FNL) a Burundian rebel group crossed into South Kivu and created rear bases to fight the Burundian armed forces. The FNL is currently in an alliance with Mai-Mai Yakutumba and FDLR in South Kivu.
The FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) is the largest illegal foreign armed group operating in the DR Congo.