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Families of Congo attack victims mourn their losses

Families of Congo attack victims mourn their losses
People gather in Goma, DRC, on 6 May 2024, to mourn the victims of the attack   -  
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Moses Sawasawa/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved.

Democratic Republic Of Congo

Families of the victims of last week's bomb attacks in eastern Congo mourned their loved ones at a ceremony in Goma.

The bombings at Mugunga and Lac Vert camps killed 18 and injured 32. The type of explosives used remains unclear. Most victims were women and children.

Eye witness

Alimeti Kigiho, who survived the attack, had sought shelter from eastern Congo's long war at the Mugunga displacement camp in February, only to be shaken by explosions while going to fetch water.

He ran back to his tent, where he found the bodies of his wife and two young children, aged 6 and 2, in pieces.

"War has taken everything from me," Kigiho, 45, told the Associated Press.

Who is to blame?

The Congolese army and a rebel group known as M23 have blamed each other for the bombings. The March 23 Movement, or M23, is a rebel military group mainly made up of ethnic Tutsis that broke away from the Congolese army 12 years ago.

READ ALSO:Coltan: at the heart of DRC-Rwanda tensions [Business Africa]

The decades-long conflict in eastern Congo has produced one of the world's worst humanitarian crises, with over 100 armed groups fighting in the region, most for land and control of mines with valuable minerals.

Some are fighting to try to protect their communities. Many groups are accused of carrying out mass killings, rapes and other human rights violations.


Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi accuses neighbouring Rwanda of destabilizing Congo by backing the M23 rebels. U.N. experts, along with the U.S. State Department, have also accused Rwanda of backing the rebels. Rwanda denies the claims.

Some of the mourners at the ceremony on Monday criticized President Tshisekedi along with the international community for failing to end the long-running conflict.

READ ALSO:UN chief appeals for more attention for eastern DRC

"If he is unable to end this war, he should resign," Bienfait Bonane, a youth from Goma, told the Associated Press.

The violence has displaced about 7 million people, including thousands living in temporary camps like the ones attacked last week. Many others are beyond the reach of aid.

The attacks have driven some residents in the camp to consider returning to their homes, despite the dangers that caused them to flee in the first place.

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