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Rising riots in Goma hinder cross-border trade

Movement between the two border posts between Rwanda and DR Congo in Rubavu District was brought to a standstill by riots in the Congolese border town of Goma on Monday, February 6.

This was just over a day after regional leaders met in Bujumbura, Burundi to try to calm tensions in eastern DR Congo. Congolese citizens were seen near the border, in the Goma side, chastising both the UN peacekeeping force, MONUSCO, and the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF).

According to reports from across the border, the riots also targeted Rwandans living in Goma and Kinyarwanda speaking Congolese, accusing them of collaborating with M23, a rebel group operating in the east of DR Congo.

The demonstrators in Goma erected road barricades, and forced businesses to close as they called for the departure of the EAC regional force from the country, accusing them of not fighting the M23 rebels. The rebels recently gained significant ground against the Congolese military and its militia coalition involving groups such as the Rwandan genocidal militia, FDLR. The latter was formed by remnants of the masterminds of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

It is reported that Lutte Pour Le Changement (LUCHA), a group based in Goma, organised the protests, urging traders to suspend work on Monday to join the demonstrations.


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