Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - "We have the right to study like the students in Kinshasa," shout the students in Goma, who took to the streets today, February 3, in the capital of North Kivu as well as in other localities of the province in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, to denounce the inaction of the EAC forces and the alleged complicity of the UN mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) in ending the war in this area of the Country.
The multinational East African Community Regional Force (EACRF) has the task to oversee the withdrawal of the main guerrilla movement active in North Kivu, the M23, as stipulated in agreements reached last November. But like MONUSCO, the Kenyan-led East African States Force was soon accused by locals of inaction if not complicity with the guerrillas.
Demonstrations have been reported on the streets of the northern part of the city of Goma since yesterday evening, February 2, and have been extended to today. Calls for demonstrations and a day of civil strike, with the closure of all business and work activities (so-called "dead city") have been made through anonymous leaflets scattered around the city without signatures or organizers.
"We are always told that we are tomorrow's future, but they don't want to protect us!" exclaims one student. "Since I was born, I have lived and studied under the war without anything being done. Today we have decided to leave the classrooms to take to the streets to show the world that it is time to grow up and study like other childeren in the world."
Meanwhile, tensions rise between Rwanda and the DRC, following the expulsion of Rwandan soldiers who are part of the EACRF and skirmishes between the 2 armies in recent days (notably, a Congolese plane was hit by a Rwandan missile. The pilot was later able to return to base).
Faced with this alarming situation, the EAC's acting chairman, Burundian Evariste Ndayishimiye, has urgently convened a summit of the East African organization's heads of state for tomorrow, February 4, in Bujumbura to discuss the security situation in the DRC and tensions between Kinshasa and Kigali. South Sudan President Salva Kiir, who is receiving Pope Francis, will not be able to attend the summit, but will send his own representative.
It is unclear whether President Felix Tshisekedi will attend the meeting in Burundi's capital, especially since he recently boycotted a meeting in Doha, Qatar, between Congolese and Rwandan authorities to find a solution to the war against the Kigali-backed M23. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 3/2/2023)
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