Bombings Claim Lives of 12, Including Children, in Congo

Bombings targeting two displacement camps in eastern Congo have resulted in the deaths of at least 12 individuals, including children, according to the United Nations (UN). The attacks struck the Lac Vert and Mugunga camps near Goma city, with the UN condemning them as a blatant violation of human rights and international humanitarian law, potentially constituting war crimes.

A rebel group identified as M23 has intensified its two-year offensive, advancing toward Goma in recent months, prompting a mass influx of refugees into the city. Save The Children, present at one of the camps during the bombings, reported numerous injuries, particularly among women and children, with the death toll still undetermined. UN spokesperson Jean Jonas Yaovi Tossa confirmed at least 12 fatalities and over 20 injuries resulting from the attacks.

The Congolese army spokesperson, Lt Col Ndjike Kaiko, attributed the bombings to M23, which is allegedly linked to neighboring Rwanda. However, M23 refuted these accusations in a statement, instead blaming the Congolese forces. President Felix Tshisekedi, who was abroad at the time, cut short his trip to return home following the bombings, reiterating longstanding allegations of Rwanda’s involvement in destabilizing Congo by supporting M23, a claim Rwanda denies.

The recent bombings coincide with M23’s seizure of the strategic mining town of Rubaya, known for its tantalum deposits crucial for smartphone production. The United States strongly condemned the attacks, attributing them to positions held by the Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) and M23. The US urged both parties to respect human rights and adhere to international humanitarian law. The enduring conflict in eastern Congo, involving over 100 armed groups vying for land and control of valuable mineral resources, has precipitated one of the world’s most severe humanitarian crises, displacing approximately seven million people and exposing many to egregious human rights violations.