Africa

Congo witness: 'Killed for being Hutu'

The Rwanda army in DR Congo
Image caption The Rwanda army has crossed into DR Congo several times looking for those behind the 1994 genocide

The UN has released a report into the killings of Hutu civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo during the 1990s.

Rwandan, Ugandan and Burundian forces are accused of participating in the attacks, which the report says may constitute "crimes of genocide".

A Congolese Hutu man in Goma, who asked to remain anonymous, tells the BBC how he lost his parents and why the report holds such importance for him.

His story

At the end of 1996 I was 14 years old and I was living in Rutshuru and my parents.

We fled at around eight at night - I remember it was really frightening because we were hearing gunshots all over the place and bombs.

People were crying and shouting but we got the chance to run and go away from that place before the Rwandan government [soldiers] got into the place.

Me and my cousin and my parents went up to the border of Uganda but my parents preferred to let us cross and get to Nairobi for safety.

They went back to Rutshuru where they were shot and killed.

My sister, who was 24 at the time, saw it happen. She and her husband had stayed behind in Rutshuru.

She was in the house when they were shot dead, but she managed to hide and they didn't find her.

She described seeing the man as wearing a uniform. It's the Rwandan army that killed them.

They were killed because they were both Hutus.

'Imported hatred'

My parents were Congolese, even my grandparents were Congolese - we don't even know a single place in Rwanda, so my parents were 100% Congolese.

The Rwandan army doesn't care whether you're a Hutu from Rwanda or a Hutu from Congo, for them it's the same.

This is the hatred that happened back in Rwanda imported in Congo [following the 1994 genocide].

I'm sure about what I'm saying because my father had many other friends who were Nandes [an ethnic group in the North Kivu region] that were living in Rutshuru who were not threatened or killed and who did not have to flee, but the Hutus were killed.

I think that was the main purpose of the Rwandan army in North Kivu.

The importance of this report is to know that for all the families that have lost people there may be a justice somewhere. This is the first step.

People may forgive, that's true, but forgiving does mean not forgetting as I'll never forget my parents and I'll never forget how they were killed.

It'd be better for us to know that there is justice and that the people who did it will pay for their crimes.

This is the only way people can also get along together.

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