In the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), specifically in Goma, tensions are escalating as the victims of a crackdown on an anti-Monusco protest on August 30, 2023, are scheduled to be buried on September 18. Families have been demanding the return of their loved ones’ remains.
According to a statement from local authorities, the victims of the repression on August 30, 2023, in Goma are set to be buried on September 18th. The North Kivu governorate, a province in eastern DRC, has called on the population to “observe a prayerful attitude for a dignified burial of the illustrious departed in their final resting places.”
Nearly three weeks ago, a military operation against members of the sect “Foi naturelle judaïque et messianique vers les nations,” who had gathered to demand the departure of the United Nations mission (Monusco) from the country, resulted in the deaths of over fifty people. Since then, families have been demanding the return of the bodies of their loved ones.
However, these families have been unable to see their deceased relatives since the tragic events. The bodies have been kept at the military hospital in Camp Katindo. According to civil society, this facility is not equipped to handle such a large number of bodies, leading to improper preservation and decomposition. Civil society had repeatedly urged the authorities to return the bodies to the families for a proper burial. The decision to announce the funerals for Monday came through a statement from the governorate.
Families are opposing these funerals, citing that they were not consulted in the decision-making process. Witnesses on the ground report to RFI that the situation is tense between the authorities and the families of the victims.
In a document, these families are calling for the postponement of the funerals, allowing loved ones to identify the deceased, and organizing a “harmonization meeting to dignify the deceased.”