“Special Edition” Letter to United Nations in New York / USA
To His Excellency Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Head of State (With my most deferential tributes)
Palace of the Nation, Av. C: I:
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Roi Baudoin / Gombe, B.P. 201 Kinshasa
His Excellency the Secretary General of the United Nations in New York / USA;
Mr. Ambassador of the United States in the DRC;
Mr. Representative of the European Union in the DRC;
Mr. Ambassador of France in the DRC;
Mr. Ambassador of the United Kingdom in the DRC; Mr. Ambassador of China to the DRC;
Mr. Russian Ambassador to the DRC;
Mr. Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium in the DRC; Mr. Ambassador of Germany in the DRC;
Mr. Apostolic Nuncio in the DRC.
Subject: Denunciation of the illegal and arbitrary instruction by the Governor of South Kivu to erase the history of the Banyamulenge in the DRC through the reintegration of the municipality of Minembwe in the Lulenge sector
Your Excellency Mr. President,
This follows a series of other letters sent to Your Excellency with the aim of informing you of the extermination situation facing the Banyamulenge community in the Hauts-Plateaux of South Kivu, the last of which is dated is that of April 10, 2021 which asked you personally to intervene to put an end to the ethnic cleansing accompanied by acts of genocide of which the Banyamulenge are victims in the Highlands of South Kivu.
Unfortunately, our observation is that, despite our numerous appeals for the security of the members of our community, their security situation at the level of all the highlands of South Kivu and in Uvira is very worrying in the light of the current events of which the ultimate objective is to achieve without obstacles the achievement of the objectives of ethnic cleansing and the severity of the genocide, assigned by the Mai-Mai militias of the Babembe, Bafuliru, Bavira and Banyindu communities, acting in coalition with the rebels Burundian from RED-Tabara, FNL and FOREBU, ahead of
the total silence of the Congolese government, and, in most cases, with the complicity of FARDC elements.1
Indeed, Excellency Mr. President, despite the Banyamulenge being full Congolese of origin, and that history clearly establishes that they are the first occupants of the Hauts-Plateaux of the territories of Uvira, Fizi and Mwenga where , they had first established permanent cattle pastures towards the end of the 19th century as we know from the writings of Georges Weis, 2 when this environment was still not administered by the Belgian colonizer, and completely unknown to the Bavira populations, Bafuliru, Banyindu and Babembe; unfortunately, the political machinations in the headlines on the Congolese hate media tend to question the autochthony of the Banyamulenge in this environment, by assimilating them to the Rwandan refugees of 1959 who would be temporarily housed in the refugee camps of Katobo, Lemera and Mulenge and who, during the seizure of power by President Mobutu, all fled to Burundi, because they had joined forces with the Simba Mulele in their war against the regime of Joseph Kasavubu during the years 1963 to 1964.3
Currently, the presence of the Banyamulenge on the territory of the Hauts-plateaux is perceived as a situation of foreign occupation or the usurpation of the lands of the so-called indigenous populations of this environment.4
According to the same author, the 1954 census found that the Banyamulenge were in the majority in this environment more than the Bafuliru, Banyindu and Babembe communities in a proportion of 45% of the total population of the villages of Bijombo, Kianjovu and Masango-Tutanga.5
And it is for this reason that Jacques-Marie Depelchin in a study carried out in 1974 found that the Highlands are exclusively inhabited by the Banyamulenge, most of the Tutsi who emigrated from the kingdom of Rwanda during the reign of Rwabugiri, and that here and there we can find small communities of the Banyindu such as Murambi and Bijombo.6
The Banyamulenge were not only in the majority in the villages of the Highlands, they were even in the villages on the side of Lake Tanganika of the Budulege group (a Munyamulenge), in particular in Galye, Munanira, Kishembwe and Kalonge-Kataka. .7 Thus, the administrative census of the 1950s of the inhabitants of these villages established that the Banyamulenge
1 In this regard, the Twitter message from the South Kivu Security Barometer provides us with this information that during the attacks on the villages of Kahwela on September 8 and 9, 2020, that according to a source within the FARDC and several sources close to the Mai- May, FARDC members handed ammunition to Mai-Mai groups two days before the offensive, near Mikenge (Mwenga territory, South Kivu), DRC.
2 Weis G., Le Pays d’Uvira, a geo study
regional writing on the edge of Lake Tanganika, Rue de Louverne, 80A, Brussels 5, p.148. 3 Verhaegen B., Du Congo 1964 au Zaire 1997: Similarities and divergences: www.association-antwerpen.be. p. 4.
4 In their specifications that they submitted to you during your stay in Bukavu in March 2019 Excellency Mr. President, the Babembe falsely alleged that the Banyamulenge whom they knowingly call Rwandans changed the names of the mountains and rivers that were in Kibembe in Rwandan names for the purpose of ethnic cleansing, when in reality, these are the names that the Banyamulenge baptized the different environments of the Hauts-plateaux which are in documents of the Belgian colony, from the simple so that they are the ones who inhabited these environments when the Babembe were still living in the great forest of Itombwe.
5Weis G., op.cit. p.120.
6 Depelchin, J-M, 1943, From Pre-capitalism to imperialism: A history of social and economic formation in the Eastern Zaire (Uvira Zone, C. 1800-
1965), Stanford University, PhD, 1974, p.32. 7 Weis G., op.cit.p. 117.
accounted for 86% of the total population (ie 1,603 Banyamulenge out of a total 1,883 of all the people surveyed) of this region. The Bavira represented 6% (or 125 people), the Bafuliru, 7% or 145 people and the Nyintu, 0.5% or 10 people. one thing in common is that of being all attached by the administration to the same capita (local chief) Munyamulenge.9
Indeed, Excellency Mr. President, the Banyamulenge are not second-class Congolese citizens as all the hate speeches that proliferate in the Congolese media suggest, and whose consequences are devastating with regard to the victim community.
In this regard, we will cite your decision in Goma on October 7, 2020 on the suspension of the installation of the authorities of the municipality of Minembwe, which only crowned the success of these hate speeches of which the Banyamulenge are victims. from members of other communities in the southern part of South Kivu, and whose ultimate objective would be to make the Banyamulenge stateless on this planet by unfairly depriving them of the right to have an administrative entity in the environment where they are in the majority and whose primary objective is to provide all local populations with local administrative services.
Indeed, your decision has proved right to the lie, to the ethnic hatred and to the discrimination of the Banyamulenge, because it was adopted without a preliminary investigation aimed at verifying the basis of the false allegations circulated by political actors in South Kivu. , according to which Banyamulenge are foreigners who do not have the right to an autonomous entity on the lands of the so-called indigenous Bembe, and that even this commune-continent encroaches on the administrative boundaries of other administered entities, in the territories of Mwenga and Uvira .10
And, to give effect to your decision of October 7 from Goma, the Provincial Minister of the Interior, Security, Decentralization and Customary Affairs of South Kivu took the decision to cancel the installation report of the Mayor of the Municipality of Minembwe by enjoining him to strictly observe this measure.
As long as the ad hoc committee announced by your decision of October 7, 2020 was still awaited, members of the discriminated community were hoping that the challenges motivated by ethnic hatred regarding the existence of the municipality of Minembwe will be setbacks after the commission’s investigations, and that they will be restored to their most legitimate right over an administrative entity serving all the local populations of their home environment.
Horribly, by his letter N ° 01/744 / CAB / GOUPRO-SK / 2021 from His Excellency the Governor of South Kivu enjoins the Bourgmestre Gad Mukiza Nzabinesha to proceed with the handover and take over with the sector chief of Lulenge, in disregard of Decree No. 13/029 of June 13, 2013 conferring the status of town and municipality to certain agglomerations of the Province of South Kivu
8 Idem., P. 118. 9 Idem., P.117.
10 See the fallacious statements of various political or religious actors such as Bitakwira, Bulambo and the Bishop of Uvira Monsignor Muyengo who give the commune geographical limits encroaching the limits of other administrative territories such as Uvira and Mwenga.
and Ministerial Decree No. 25 / CAB / VPM / MININTERSEC / HMS / 075/2018 of December 28, 2018 appointing Mr. Gadi Mukiza Nzabinesha as Interim Mayor of the Municipality of Minembwe which are still in force.
Indeed, this illegal and arbitrary instruction from the Governor of the Province of South Kivu intervening in a particular political context corroborates the determination.
nation of Mai-Mai militias from the tribal communities of Bafuliru, Bavira, Banyindu and Babembe aiming to erase the history of the Banyamulenge in the DRC.
Currently, members of the Banyamulenge community are going through a situation of outrageous ethnic hatred, due to the fact that even the legitimacy of their ethnic name of Banyamulenge is falsely contested by members of the Bafuliru community who arrogate to themselves the right to want to impose on the Banyamulenge. ‘obligation to change their name on the pretext that Mulenge hill would be in their chiefdom.
But also, this decision comes at a time when the customary right of the Banyamulenge over the Bijombo grouping is wrongfully denied by the Bavira on the pretext that Bijombo is from their customary chiefdom.
What astonishes any informed observer is the partisan attitude of the Congolese Government vis-à-vis all these actions aimed at the uprooting of the Banyamulenge. Because, for five years, the Banyamulenge have been victims of an ethnic cleansing war tending to genocide delivered to them by the Mai-Mai militias in coalition with the Burundian rebels of RED-Tabara, Forebu and FNL, demanding the forced return of the Banyamulenge. in Rwanda where they would have come, without the government intervening to protect the victims through military operations against the Mai-Mai militias and their Burundian allies who are sowing terror and desolation in the Highlands against the Banyamulenge.
This war has already destroyed the living space of the Banyamulenge in a proportion of 97%; caused the systematic looting of the cattle of this same population at 95% and the killings of several hundred people members of the Banyamulenge community who, often are massacred not far from the military positions of the regular army, and in most times with the participation of FARDC elements, as attested by the United Nations Expert Report on the DRC of June 10, 2021 in paragraph 144 of Annex 107.11
The proof of the Congolese government’s support for this war of ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Banyamulenge, is that during the so-called muscular operations against the Banyamulenge civil self-defense groups led by Colonel Makanika who decided to leave the regular army in cause of the government’s total inability to protect members of its community, is that during these
11According to the Report of the UN Group of Experts on the DRC of June 10, 2021, attests that several members of the FARDC were also in collusion with the Mai-Mai groups when the latter attacked Banyamulenge villages and stole livestock. Six FARDC sources, civil society leaders, local Banyamulenge leaders, people close to Mai-Mai chiefs, researchers and MONUSCO sources cited General Dieudonné Batenchi Muhima, Commander of the 12th Rapid Reaction Brigade. in Minembwe since March 2020, as being a determining element of the support provided by the FARDC to the Mai-Mai groups.
operations, the FARDC were helped by the Mai-Mai groups, 12 whereas it is the latter who are at the base of the insecurity which shakes the entire territory of the Highlands and whose consequences are incalculable with regard to Banyamulenge.
It should also be noted that the FARDC married RED-Tabara, who have continued to enjoy foreign military assistance on Congolese soil.
Curiously, to justify the military operations against the Banyamulenge civilian self-defense group of Twirwaneho and Gumino, the Communiqué of the General Staff of the FARDC of July 12, 2021 falsely alleged that the Twirwaneho and Gumino were allied with the Burundian rebels of RED-Tabara . And without delay, on July 15, 2021, the RED-Tabara published a statement rejecting all the allegations made against it by the FARDC statement, affirming on the contrary that it is in direct confrontation with the groups of Banyamulenge civil defense of Twirwaneho and Gumino.
And, far from dwelling on many of the details linked to this war of ethnic cleansing and the genocide of the Banyamulenge, it should be noted in conclusion that the instruction of the Governor of South Kivu instructing the Bourgmestre to proceed with the surrender and resumption with the chef de secteur of Lulenge is illegal and arbitrary. Because, it was adopted in violation of Decree No. 13/029 of June 13, 2013 conferring the status of town and municipality to certain agglomerations of the Province of South Kivu and Ministerial Order No. 25 / CAB / VPM / MININTERSEC / HMS / 075/2018 of December 28, 2018 appointing Mr. Gadi Mukiza Nzabinesha as Interim Mayor of the Municipality of Minembwe which are still in force.
Otherwise, the objective of the relevant instruction is to respond only to the concerns of the Mai-Mai groups aimed at depriving the Banyamulenge of their right to benefit
local services of an administrative entity in the territory of their ancestors by reducing them to a situation of statelessness in terms of land tenure, and if necessary facilitating their expulsion from the DRC.
We also denounce the inhuman and degrading treatment to which the Banyamulenge civilian populations are subjected by the FARDC soldiers assigned to Mugete.
Indeed, the soldiers of the Mugete position under the command of Colonel Volcan, before cramming the poor villagers into trenches used only by the soldiers in the context of armed hostilities, they had first carried out the encirclement during the night of the villages of Kajembwe and its surroundings from where they extracted the victims. And when their photos began to circulate on the canvases showing them piled up in trenches, these soldiers invented the lie by imputing to these civilians arbitrarily extracted at night from their homes that they were fighters of armed groups of Banyamulenge obedience captured in combat.
We condemn these acts of inhuman barbarism inflicted on the peaceful Banyamulenge citizens and demand that those responsible for these heinous crimes be prosecuted, while stressing that the Banyamulenge do not have armed groups as such, and that they have, on the contrary, groups
12 To this end, the Twitter of the Kivu Security Barometer of August 17, 2021 states that according to several local sources, including local authorities, FPDC fighters, alias Ebuila Mtetezi, helped the FARDC in their offensive against self-defense groups. civil banyamulenge.
self-defense forces which were created to protect themselves against the plan of ethnic uprooting to which they are subjected by the Mai-Mai and their Burundian allies, working in most cases under the leadership of the FARDC.
But also, the demonstrators of ethnic hatred of Uvira who attacked the Church of the 37th CADC should be brought to justice to answer for their uncivil acts of wicked destruction that they caused to this house of worship under the pretext that most of its members are said to be Banyamulenge, but also for damage they caused to the property of individuals they demolished.
In view of the above, the following recommendations are necessary:
With regard to the Congolese Government:
● Recognize that the Banyamulenges are the first inhabitants of the highlands of Uvira, Fizi and Itombwe with regard to the historical truth of this environment;
● Recognize that they have the constitutional right to have autonomous administrative entities in the territory of the highlands like other Congolese without discrimination;
● Recognize that the instruction of the Governor reinstating the municipality of Minembwe within the Lulenge sector is null and of no effect, because it was adopted in violation of Decree No. 13/029 of 13 June 2013 conferring the status of town and common to certain agglomerations of the Province of South Kivu and Ministerial Decree n ° 25 / CAB / VPM / MININTERSEC / HMS / 075/2018 of December 28, 2018 appointing Mr. Gad Mukiza Nzabinesha as Interim Mayor of the Municipality of Minembwe which are still in force;
● That it would be necessary to proceed with diligence with the establishment of the ad hoc Commission announced in your decision of October 7, 2020 in order to rehabilitate the local populations of Minembwe in their right to have an administrative entity in their local environment ;
● Stop providing support to the Mai-Mai militias and the Burundian rebels in the war to uproot the Banyamulenge in the DRC and fight them for the effective security of the populations of the highlands as a whole;
● Resettle internally displaced people in their respective villages and repatriate those who are abroad by guaranteeing effective security conditions for all inhabitants of the highlands and the Banyamulenge, in particular because of their particular situation during this war in which they are hunted down by neighboring ethnic groups in order to erase their history in the DRC through acts of ethnic cleansing and genocide;
● Put in place the necessary judicial mechanisms to punish the crimes committed during this war and to compensate the victims.
With regard to the international community:
● To note that the decision of the Governor of South Kivu to deprive the Banyamulenge of the enjoyment of an administrative entity in their local environment constitutes yet another attempt by the Congolese authorities to help the Mai-Mai to achieve their objectives of uprooting the Banyamulenge in DRC;
● Observe the unambiguous role of the Congolese government in the war to uproot the Banyamulenge in the DRC and exert political pressure on it by demanding the effective protection of members of the Banyamulenge community, failing that, intervene to protect the victims.
Dated this 09/29/2021
For the collective of mutualities Banyamulenge GAKONDO
Félix NYIRAZO RUBOGORA, President of the coordination committee
Appeal for Help
We appeal for help to anyone who feel touched to do his/her contribution whether advocacy or funds to feed hungry people who are in a critical situation for 4 years while the world watching.