Victimes de massacres de Rwangoma, en ville de Beni, Août 2916

A month later, a mom, witness to the massacres in Rwangoma (Beni), testifies!

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Warning to sensitive hearts!

« … The people are losing heart … (Nb 21: 4b », hence where will the relief come to it?

This Sept. 14, 2016, as every year, the Catholic Church celebrates the glorious cross, madness and scandal, yet wisdom and glory. This may be as outrageous as to that glorious weakness of the cross, I now finds the strength and courage to untie my tongue after the horror that I lived exactly one month and one day. What a contrast between the courage to tell that now animates me and discouragement of the chosen people, a moment of it long walk through the desert, as related in the first reading today (Nb21, 4-b). Yes, a time when one is not longer able to, we run the risk of falling into discouragement. Yet, discouragement is one of the greatest dangers in the struggle for peace, law, justice, development … Will we let ourselves be beaten down? In any case, not me. I will fight to the end, given what I escaped. Dare I tell today is to testify that all the population of Beni-Lubero is living a horror and that its future holds after a firebrand. This alert is more urgent than ever. Thanks to the efforts of all, the salvation of this population is still possible if we act quickly and together, each at his level.

« The people of Beni struggle to survive but that fight is rewarded with a machete … »

For two years, the people of North-Kivu have become sheep for the slaughter on the roads, in fields and in their own homes … and this in the full knowledge of the political leaders and forces of MONUSCO, which are supposed to protect the population and its property.

To illustrate this, I bring you the horror of August 13, 2016 I lived and which I escaped, not because my life has more value than my companions and my neighbors who succumbed to blows of machetes, but maybe just to cry for help on behalf of the victims of organized genocide in the North-Kivu region, so that their lives suddenly stopped not be forgotten and that the next potential victims escape this evil project of human blood thirsty. This will only be possible if everyone, from near or far, is aware of the dignity of the common humanity that we all share and acts accordingly.

– « A day of darkness and dark clouds planned by the lion-men »

That day … as I had nothing to give my children for dinner, I took the risk of going into my field early in the afternoon of that terrible August 13, 2016, at a hour walk from my house. I left my one and a half year old daughter with her 4 years old sister and her big brother 7 years of age playing in the yard. The latter called me saying: « Mom, I hope you will do not be like dad and my older brother who went to the field and never returned. » In fact, it’s been 7 months since my husband and my 10 year old son went missing, probably kidnapped and killed while going or returning from the field. It was then I realized that my children were unaware of the serious era we now live in. They think that their father and brother will come back after their « country walk »! I dare not tell them clearly what happened to their father and their brother, I have no words to say … So I reassured my children by promising them that I would return as soon as possible to prepare their meal, which was not the case, alas!

– « … Return as soon as possible to brush with death … »

At departure, things started well. I found good company of men and women who were going to the fields like me and we traveled together by discussing precisely this fear that installs and risk we face by going to our fields. We split one after the other when each reached his field. I hastened to reap just what we needed for 3 days in order to reach my kids before nightfall, terrible time, a time when men are roaring lions, thirsty to see bloodshed. It was about 4:00 p.m. when I started walking, cassava on my back, stick in hand. Like at departure, I had the company of men and women returning from their fields like me, not necessarily the same. Suddenly, about 30 minutes from arriving in my neighborhood, we see men in military uniform who set out to call the passers. Here’s what they told us: « Do not take this road here, it is very dangerous. Rather take this one, you risk nothing.  » Naive as we were, we were astonished as of the « goodness » of these men in military uniform. We obeyed, obviously unaware that it was a disguised goodness. Having advanced further, we are ambushed: men, women and children returning from the fields that were there, stopped like us, relieved of their burdens, not for a little rest time that would do them good, but to die … die by machete … I saw two three assassins spraying a product. And suddenly, they fell one after another, but still conscious. It was so unexpected and quick that it is difficult to describe this horrible scene. I still remembers the cynical and sadistic gaze of these men with machetes and the desperate look of these victims, unable to be saved from this jungle. Their screams still echo in my ears as if it was happening right now.

– « Beautiful Escape … and how so … the strength of a cry? »

If a cry saved me from this carnage, I also believe that my cry to you, on behalf of my fellow travelers will save the survivors of the population of Beni.

I have not cried for myself, I cried for my children alone at home. I just had time to think of them that had no father. I saw them lose their mother, who had promised them to come home as soon as possible. I just said to the young man who was getting ready his product and his machete to slash me, « Have mercy on my children, they are home alone, they are still very young to be left alone. » Suddenly, I saw a moment of compassion in the eyes of the young man who told me: « It’s true, I too was very small. I also needed someone to grow. Quick, save yourself and join them. « 

Yet everyone had good reason to escape the machete. Why only me? Mystery? Destiny? It escapes us. I arrived home all distraught. I saw off my children who were playing in the yard. I just had time to shout and tell the neighbors: military are killing people! Let’s leave this place ! I took my children by the hand and we went running to take refuge with their aunt who lives downtown because I feared what would happen at the night. Finally, I just had time to save myself from a group of attackers that stormed Rwangoma my neighborhood to kill people in their own homes before dark. How awful ! Men, women, and children went through it. They even opened the belly of a pregnant woman and removed the fetus. Tackling life in the womb! Who can keep silent before such atrocities? Well, who?

« My 7 year old son no longer believes in his future »

Just one episode that alerted me when with my children we were refugees at their aunt: one evening, she told them that we were not going to eat all the food prepared that day and that we will keep an amount for the next day. My 7 year old son responded: « No, there is no need to keep some for tomorrow, let’s eat everything because we do not even know if we’ll be there tomorrow. At least the attackers will kill us when we have eaten all .  » I was really surprised by the reaction of my son, I realized that he now realized the gravity of the situation.

Moreover, I observed that since the massacres of 13 night fall is terrible for him. He suffers a panic attack. He tells me that the night is long. Barely asleep, he aspires to rise. I even struggled to convince him that I will enroll him in school this year. He declined, saying he does not even know if he will grow up and it’s not worth it to go to school. He mentioned the names of his friends most of whom were our neighbors. They already went to school but they died in the massacres before they finish their studies and benefit from it. It’s really painful for me to give a speech to this kid with confusing thoughts and yet realistic. But hey, he finally agreed to go to school, up to when? None of us knows.

« Woe upon woe for the victims: bodies thrown into the river Semuliki »

As if the massacre were not enough, some victims did not even have the right to be buried « in the earth. » Instead of a funeral, there was just a toss. Yes, many bodies, especially children, were transported in four Fusso brand vehicles to be thrown into the Semuliki river, from the bridge that Joseph had just visited four or five days before the killings. These people disfigured by machetes were yet to be ground by the teeth of crocodiles. Was it for their complete disappearance or was it a human sacrifice? In any case, this second track seems more likely.

While reading, I do not ask you to cry! What I expect of you is that you make yours my cry, I mean, the cry of all those people killed, slaughtered, gutted whose cry is heard to this day in the concert of nations including in my country!

Kaswera Mbwera
Réfugié aujourd’hui à Butanuka

« It is thus understood the grave danger of any extension to the power of Joseph Kabila. Congolese worthy of the name must reject any form of transition. Indeed, given what is happening in Kivu- Ituri, any transition beyond December 2016 would allow time and resources to the Congolese government which is, obviously, an accomplice of the Rwandan occupation of Kivu- Ituri being  » (Father Vincent Machozi, March 19, 2016, speech that earned his murder the next day).

©Beni-Lubero Online.

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