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Congolese in Rwanda share their experiences as tensions between the two countries remain high

Kenyan defence forces in DRC   -  
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Democratic Republic Of Congo

As the attempts to restore peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by the East African Community regional leaders continue, rebels from the March 23 Movement have advanced to capture territories in the eastern DRC.

The Congolese government still claims Rwanda is orchestrating the clashes between the two countries by supporting the M23 rebels.

In the past couple of months, many Kinyarwanda speaking Congolese also known as Banyamurenge and Tutsi have been announced killed in the DRC as they were suspected of being allies of the M23.

Congolese people make up over 60 percent of the total refugee population in Rwanda.

Living and doing businesses in country, they shared with Africanews their experiences of being Congolese in Rwanda in times like these and amidst the political war between the two countries.

Congolese business man, Vianney Saidi said: “We are not facing any issues in Rwanda, we the Congolese, we are not affected by the war at all.

“We are doing well and progressing with our businesses here in Rwanda, most technicians, hairstylists and tailors here in Rwanda are Congolese and they have no complaints at all.”

But Julien Mulatwe, a Congolese businesswoman has had a different experience.

“I used to import my jewellery products from Congo, now I have no way of importing them,” she explains.

“I can’t travel to Congo, I could get killed, my business has been affected badly, I have had to put it on hold.”

Kenyan forces have been deployed in the DRC with a mandate to create a buffer zone between the DRC forces and the M23 rebels so fighting can halt.

On Wednesday this week, Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) vowed to protect the strategic Goma Airport in eastern DRC from possible attacks.

Jean Baptiste Gasominari is a Political Lawyer in Rwanda.

“There have been a lot of issues between Rwanda and DRC and mostly they originate from the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi in Rwanda,” he explains. “And those perpetrators that fled to Rwanda were welcomed with their weapons and ideologies, they were never disarmed, their military capabilities increased because they were being armed by the Congolese government.

“The involvement of Uganda, Kenya and Burundi are aimed at bringing peace and security, but if those root causes of the conflict are not addressed, then the conflict will never end.”

As the M23 rebels advance to control more regions in eastern DRC, over 89 refugees have crossed over the Kabuhanga border to seek refuge in Rwanda.

Rwanda denies supporting the M23 rebels.

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