The M23 rebel group fighting government forces in eastern DR Congo says there are plans for genocidal violence against Congolese Tutsi communities.
There have been reports of violence, including cases of cannibalism, targeted at Kinyarwanda speaking Congolese communities in eastern DR Congo.
Since May this year, renewed fighting in eastern DR Congo between government forces FARDC and the M23 rebels has led to the displacement of some 200,000 people, according to the United Nations.
The rebels accused the Kinshasa government of downplaying peaceful efforts to stop fighting.
In a statement on Tuesday, the M23 said the coalition of the FARDC and armed groups like the FDLR and Mai-Mai were responsible for the “establishment of a new chaotic order and imminent genocide.”
However, the claims by the M23 that the Congolese government has a “genocidal plan” could not be independently verified.
The FDLR militia was founded by Interahamwe and members of the former Rwandan army (FAR), who committed the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
“For instance, in MASISI, the coalition warned all the Congolese Citizens of Tutsi ethnic to gather in medical centres and parishes,” reads the statement signed by Laurence Kanyuka, the M23 political spokesperson.
“Those who will not show up at the said places will be considered as M23 members and shall therefore be killed.”
Kanyuka added, “in the villages where they are predominantly Tutsi, the FARDC have withdrawn and left on standby their FDLR and MAI-MAI to do what they do best, GENOCIDE.”
Hate speech and calls for violence against the Congolese Tutsi communities have been whipped up by army officers and spread on social media.
According to analysts, a speech by Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi earlier this month might have added fuel to the hate speech.
“The M23 Movement reminds the international community that the DRC Government and its allies are using similar methods to the ones of 1994 genocide against the Tutsi of RWANDA, perpetrated by the INTERAHAMWE (FDLR), the DRC Government’s ally,” Kanyuka said.
He added: “In a way to implement the said genocidal plan, the DRC Government has appointed Brigadier General Mugabo Hassan to be in charge of operations in Masisi.”
One shall remember the horrendous crimes committed by Brigadier General Mugabo Hassan, while he was in PARECO and his extreme collaboration with the FDLR.”