The Eastern DRC has, for decades, been experiencing recurring violence originating from several motives and causes. However, colonialism and racial categorization coupled by the reified post-colonial autochthony has left the Banyamulenge identified as “immigrants” and locally stateless as their local chiefdoms were abolished by colonial administrators. Regardless of evidence that the Banyamulenge have settled in what become the Democratic Republic of Congo for centuries, they have been contested and massacred as “non-native”, facing a slow genocide frozen within the complexity of violence in Eastern DRC that followed the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Since the 1960s post-independence violence in DRC, the Banyamulenge have been specifically targeted by Congolese state and non-state actors such as MaiMai and other militias across the Congolese territory and abroad. Banyamulenge’s killings have been preceded by public officials calls dehumanizing the entire community. For a half century, men, young boys, and unarmed military soldiers have constituted the primary target of the perpetrators. The intent to annihilate the Banyamulenge has also resolved to use indirect methods such as besiegement, impoverishment, inhuman treatment while erasing or hiding evidence. The slow annihilation using similar modus operandi for roughly five decades is ideologically linked to 1960s Simba rebellion. Considered by the Mai-Mai and local militias as ‘invaders’, the Banyamulenge have been forced to flee their homeland en masse that largely narrows accessible territories. The remaining Banyamulenge in South Kivu are currently besieged, starved; their villages destroyed; their economy and source of livelihood annihilated. Against this backdrop of the Banyamulenge’s situation, the Eastern DRC complexity of violence and constructed denial arguments overshadow this plight widely reported as tit-for-tat violence opposing armed groups affiliated to ethnic communities or simply as inter-community clashes.
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