Mr. KIBEKA MUSONDA Urbain, 80, married to Mrs. KAZEMBE Anastasie, residing in Lubumbashi, answered questions from Congovirtuel editorial staff about “war crime” committed in Kilwa in October 2004.
Noting that in 2017, the African Commission decided that the DRC had violated the African Charter in relation to the massacre, in 2004, of more than 70 people by Congolese army soldiers in the town of Kilwa. It is expected to award $ 4.36 million in damages to eight victims and their families, which is the highest compensation ever awarded by the African Commission. It also ordered the Congolese state to identify and compensate other victims and their families who are not party to the complaint but directly victims of the massacres.
- How can you describe the intervention of the Congolese army in Kilwa in October 2014? Where were you? And how do these “massacres” affect you?
K.M / We were me and my family -when the Congolese armed forces arrived- in Kilwa. What scared us was the instruction given to soldiers on their arrival in Kilwa by their commander, called KOTEKUBAYA, that was to shoot on anything that moves and breathes (men and cattle) and consider all remaining civilians in Kilwa as rebels.
Commander KOTEKUBAYA’s statement aroused fear in us and prompted my family to flee to Zambia via Lake Moero using a tray. Once there, the soldiers began to fire mortars in the direction of Lake Moero. Thus, the tray carrying my children was hit by a mortar and all who were on board died subsequently drowned.
2. How many victims were affected by the massacre? And in what condition are they currently living?
K.M / The death toll varies between 70 and 73. To this toll, we must be added those who had lost homes and other valuables that have never been found until now. I had lost children. Since the incident, as victims, we have been abandoned to our sad fate and do not have means to claim our rights. Apart from the NGOs’ supports.
3. Are you the object of threats from your former tormentors?
K. M / From the course of the facts to the current day, no Congolese security service has ever passed to soak up the situation and exchange with us, the victims, for a probable compensation, and this despite, the African Commission has already ruled in our favor.
4. What do you expect from the Congolese state, in particular from the President of the Republic and AU Chairman, Félix Tshisekedi, regarding the decision of the African Commission on Human Rights to compensate victims which is slow to materialize?
K. M / We request to the President of the Republic, Félix Tshisekedi to get involved in carrying out the African Commission’s decision, first as President of the Republic and then as the African Union Chairman since some victims are already dead and others are very sick while awaiting reparation.
5. July 17th was the International Day of Criminal Justice, what is your personal comment on “the impunity enjoyed by military officials in this war crime?”
K. M / We take this opportunity when the world is celebrating the International Day of Justice to launch a vibrant appeal to authorities of the country and demand that justice be rendered to victims that we are. We urge the DRC’s government to implement the African Commission decision.
by Serge Egola Angbakodolo (email@example.com), assisted by Ishiaba Kasonga (Ishiabakasonga@gmail.com ) in collaboration with Gaye Sowe (IHRDA (Banjul) +22 07751207; firstname.lastname@example.org, Emmanuel Umpula (Afrewatchatch ) – Kinshasa) +243818577577; email@example.com, Anneke Van Woudenberg (RAID – United Kingdom) +44 77 11 66 4960; firstname.lastname@example.org, Roger Lazio Mujanayi (Congovirtuel / DRC) Secretariat@congovirtuel.com +243971937051
Read also the articles on the “Holocaust of Kilwa 2004