AFRICA/DR CONGO - Human rights activists receive death threats from Burundian rebels

Thursday, 13 July 2023 armed groups  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - Three human rights activists have received death threats in South Kivu, eastern DRC, by a Burundian rebel group active in that part of the country. According to a communiqué from the "Lutte Pour le Changement" (LUCHA) movement, sent to Fides, three women, Angeleni Monewa, Helene Nditi and Anastazie Mushindi, were attacked for allegedly calling on the local population to oppose the establishment of a military base
of the Burundian rebels of Red-Tabara in Kabanja and to protest against the collection of a tax by this group in the market of Kabanja. Kabaja is located on the high plateau in the territories of the Fizi. "The three women were threatened with death and torture and banned from demonstrating throughout the territories of the Fizi" says Lucha. Despite the threats, their action was so effective that, as the statement said, "the people of Kabanja and the village of Mu'onda has recognized that agreeing to pay a nominal fee to the rebel groups is an incentive for them to carry on and not lay down their arms". On June 7, 2023, the residents of Kabanja and Mu'onda therefore categorically refused to pay the tax to the Red Tabara rebels in the Kabanja market. "As a result of this refusal, our activists and some of their family members received serious death threats," reports Lucha. The Red Tabara militia (Résistance pour un État de droit au Burundi), founded in 2011, has been held responsible for a series of attacks in Burundi since 2015. After the reaction of the Burundian army, the guerrilla group resettled in South Kivu (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and joined the numerous armed groups in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In return, the Burundian army has sent several hundred men to this area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to fight the Burundian guerrillas. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 13/7/2023)