Emotion and dismay of the families of the victims of the massacre in Makobola, a small village in South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Almost 800 people lost their lives there 21 years ago.
Witnesses of the time spoke of hundreds of women and children raped and massacred, most of them burnt alive.
« There was someone near the bodies who raised the alert, » said Failla Lubunga, a survivor. When people arrived, they found many people slaughtered. They came back to tell us that people were killed by Rwandans. This is how we escaped this massacre. But not everyone. Those who came out were killed and we stayed and escaped death. This is how I survived. «
The Makobola massacre is one of the many tragic episodes of the Second Congo War. On December 30, 1998, troops of the Rassemblement congolais pour la Démocratie, an armed group close to the Rwandan occupation forces launched a reprisal operation against villagers, accusing them of being accomplices of a local resistance group.
More than two decades after the facts, the political class of South Kivu still demands accountability from the former Rwandan high officers then in power in Kinshasa. Starting with the current security adviser to President Paul Kagame. And former Minister of Defense in Rwanda.
« Who has not seen James Kabarebe, chief of staff of the Rwandan army who was also chief of staff in the DRC, who led a strong, well-trained and well-trained military team and who had sown desolation, and who had killed and massacred the Congolese population? accuses MPP Homer Bulakali. We have to start the investigations there, because there is a name mentioned and I am talking about James Kabarebe. «
Despite appeals for peace from the local Catholic Church, relatives of the victims and local political leaders are demanding justice while no steps have yet been taken by the Congolese government, even less by the Rwandan authorities, to establish the responsibilities of this massacre.