By Georges Budagu Makoko
On October 9, in the city of Minembwe, in the eastern part of DR Congo, a 14 year old boy named Mugaza Ngenganyi Samuel was murdered. According to witnesses, he was tortured, and his hand was cut off by a member of the Congolese military, then displayed as a trophy to his miliary comrades. This is the latest in a long string of violent acts against the Banyamulenge minority community in DR Congo.
Richard Munyetwari, President of the Banyamulenge community in Maine, expressed his deep dismay over the loss of such a young boy. “I am a father of three, and I can only imagine the pain and grief that Samuel’s father and his siblings are going through right now,” he said. Munyetwari pointed out that this event is part of a slow genocide that is ongoing against the Banyamulenge. “The genocide started many years ago, but recently took a terrible turn in 2017,” he said.
Last week the leadership of the Banyamulenge in Maine – including Munyetwari – met with aides in the office of Senator Collins to ask the U.S. government to pressure the Congolese government and the United Nations peacekeeping mission in DR Congo to stop the genocide before it is too late. Genocide Watch labeled the crisis a Genocide Emergency in 2021, and expressed concern that the Banyamulenge are at risk of being exterminated. The entire Banyamulenge diaspora community mourns the loss of this child, and calls for an end to the violence.