Rwandans Warned Against "Unnecessary" Travel to DR Congo

31 October 2022

Business and movement of people near the Rwanda-DR Congo border post has been slowed down amid ongoing protests in Goma.

The New Times visited the border post, commonly known as Petite Barrière, where cross border traders on the side of Rwanda are hesitant to cross over to DR Congo as they worry for their safety. However, Congolese keep entering Rwanda in small groups.

Apparently, on the streets of Goma town, about 150 meters away from Rwanda's territory, crowds of people are joining demonstrations against Rwanda, and that police in Congo is trying to contain the situation by use of tear gas, though bullets were heard too.

Rwandans crossing to DR Congo have hence been cautioned against unnecessary movements for their safety amidst protests in Goma.

Speaking to The News Times, the Executive Secretary of Gisenyi Sector, Jean Bosco Tuyishime, explained that the border is open and described the current situation as calm.

He however advised people to avoid unnecessary movement as a way of keeping safe.

"We advise people to avoid unnecessary movement. They should not panic as security organs are ready to offer security. Local authorities and patrols are ready."

Bernadette Buunda, a Congolese businesswoman who trades vegetables from Rubavu town back in her hometown, Goma, spoke to The New Times confirming that business is not running as usual due to ongoing demonstrations in Goma.

"Things have not been going well; we are not doing business as usual. When there is a problem in Goma, things are also not okay in Rwanda because Rwandans and Congolese live in both towns," said Buunda, resident of Ndosho, Goma Town.

On the Rwandan side, traders like Danny Ndayishimiye, one of the residents from Gisenyi Sector, Mgubangari Cell, have been stranded at the border since they can't make it across to Goma.

"I have not crossed since yesterday, Congo is asking 'permit de jour' for entry which was not required before for people with disability," Ndayishimiye said.

Tensions between Rwanda and DR Congo escalated recently following the recent resurgence of the M23 rebellion in the latter's restive east. DR Congo accused Rwanda of supporting M23 but Rwanda denies the accusation.

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