Hundreds of Congolese marched in Goma eastern DRC, Thursday (Nov. 24).
The demonstration took place one day after a meeting in Luanda where the DRC, Burundi, Rwanda as well as the East African Community envoy called for a cease-fire to take effect Friday.
“I mean, we are satisfied with this agreement signed (ceasefire signed in Angola on Wednesday), but we are still pessimistic about its implementation, especially since this is not the first agreement’, Jean Claude Mbambaze, the president of the civil society of Rutshuru said.
“There have been many summits, but the decisions have not been implemented.”
After the summit in Angola, the participants released a statement calling for a cease-fire to begin Friday evening in eastern Congo, followed by a rebel withdrawal from the major towns it holds – Bunagana, Rutshuru and Kiwanja.
Some protesters carried banners in support of the Congolese armed forces who are fighting M23 rebels. Other placards were hostile to the recent agreement.
Demonstrators marched to the French and British consulate.
“We do not understand, when there are rebels who call themselves Congolese, they ask for negotiations, and it is Rwanda and Uganda who represent them. That is why we protest about this complicity, …And there is a notorious silence of the international community, the EAC (East African Countries bloc), the African Union, all are accomplices”, demonstrator Jack Sizahera shouted.
The protestors delivered a letter to both French and British consulates with grievances including an end to the international community’s ambiguous response in the face of the M23 aggression.
“We demand the international community – as a whole – to ask the Rwandan and Ugandan heads of state to urgently withdraw their fighters camouflaged under the label of M23/RDF/UPDF (rebel groups)”, John Banyene, the president of the civil society of Nord-Kivu read.
Adding, we demand the international community “to sanction Rwanda and Uganda for the aggression against DRC for more than 25 years”.
In August, U.N. experts said they had “solid evidence” that members of Rwanda’s armed forces backed the M23 rebels. Kigali denied the allegations.