In Goma, the population is concerned about the blurring of the fighting

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In eastern DRC, Goma and surrounding areas have been under pressure as fighting between the regular Congolese army and M23 rebels approached the provincial capital. In a press release, the rebels claim they have captured Kibumba, one of the last security checkpoints before Goma. Which the Congolese army denies, which claims “ contain the enemy ” in the zone. In Goma, this vagueness of the security situation is increasing concern in the city.

With our correspondent in Goma, Coralie Pierret

After the panic of Tuesday November 15, activities in Goma resumed as normal on Wednesday. The market was open, traffic was flowing, and students even passed their exams. In short, this Wednesday seemed like a day like any other.

However, the fear is very real and concerns everyone here in Goma. Wednesday afternoon duringa rumor As the rebels’ rapid advance spread to the city, gunfire fired into the air caused widespread panic. This led to the displacement of thousands of people, mostly displaced people who had already fled the clashes between the rebellion and the Congolese army and sought refuge in Kanyaruchinya, a town just outside the provincial capital.

The United Nations Organization on Thursday said 262,000 people had been displaced in North Kivu since last March. 128,000 people joined the Nyiragongo territory outside of Goma. These are mostly households that have left Rutshuru since the rebel advance began on October 20.

According to Ocha, children are disproportionately affected by this violence and more than 300 unaccompanied people have been registered in the past few days.

also read : Goma is on the front page of this Thursday’s Africa press review

We fear that the enemy will enter the city of Goma tomorrow or the day after.

The concern of Gentil Karabuka, President of the Civil Society of the Kisigari Group

Fear of a repeat of the events of 2012

On Wednesday, some of these displaced people returned to their camp, according to Placide Nzilamba from local civil society. But this event is symptomatic for him of the fear that reigns in the city. Some residents have already packed their things and made plans to leave if the M23 reaches Goma. Others stay no matter what. However, since Saturday November 12, the fighting has come closer and closer to the city and is increasingly worrying the residents. In fact, no one in Goma has forgotten what happened in 2012.

Almost ten years to the day, M23 rebels occupied the provincial capital for more than a week before withdrawing under international pressure. “ Today, the lack of reliable information is helping to panic residents », laments Placide Nzilamba, one of the leaders of civil society in North Kivu province.

Difficult for the Gomatraciens to see clearly and know who controls what when the two protagonists contradict each other.

Military situation in Goma region

In a press release yesterday, the M23 claims control of six locations including Kibumba. For their part, the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) did not communicate but stood by the statement made by the military governor of North Kivu on Tuesday, namely that “ the enemy is contained on the heights of Kibumba “.

Wednesday remained relatively calm after the previous day’s clashes, particularly after the panic movement in Kanyaruchinya camp, where Congolese soldiers shot in the air and refugees fled towards Goma. Those soldiers would have been sentenced to death by the military court in Goma Wednesday night for complicity with the M23, another source said.

►Also read: M23 rebellion in DRC: Heads of American and Rwandan diplomacy meet

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