Rapport on the field visit in the COJENOKI IDP Camp in Goma North Kivu DRCongo
Rapport on the field to COJENOKI IDP Camp in Goma, North Kivu the Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday January 26th, 2024.
COJENOKI is one among the social organization generally bringing Tutsi in North Kivu together, it has a big space in Kyeshero, Goma Municipality in North Kivu DRC and this space has been empty over the years.
Now as the war started in many parts of Masisi and Rutshuru a group of Tutsi moved and came to settle in that space belonging to COJENOKI, actually they wanted to seek asylum to Rwanda but they were denied exist by the Government of DRC, and in the process they were told to settle in that part of the tow. They are the only ones being located in the town of Goma, and the camp has more than 1,000 people. Much as the majority of the IDPs are Tutsi, still the camp has also few people from other tribes and ethnic groups in North Kivu.
Threats against residents of this camp
Recently a message circulated on various social media calling upon the people to demolish this camp, this message attracted our attention and on Friday January 26th, 2024 the Coordinator of COJESKI North Kivu Mr. Kulihoshi Musikami Pecos, the President of NDSCI North Kivu Mr. Germain Mirhonyi, the Goma Municipality Youth Chairperson Mr. Jules Ngeleza, the Kyeshoro Youth Leader Mr. Moses Akilimali and the area youth Representative Mr. Suleman visited the camps. The objective to comfort those who feel are victims of threats caused by these messages on social media, to interact with the IDPs and collect necessary information about their situation in the camp.
We reached the IDP Camp at 10 am, and there was no barrier in order to reach the camp as it was alleged, the Police was deployed at the entrance of the camps but they did not block anyone who wanted to visit the camps, we entered the camp freely and requested to speak to the President of the camp who came in and we discussed.
We observed that people in the camps were worried about possible attacks because of that message, this was an opportunity for us to assure them our solidarity and to do all necessary to prevent such hatred. We observed also that the camp had other people from different ethnic groups much as the Tutsi were the majority, we also observed that the IPDs were living in small tents like any other IDPs in other camps.
On issue of being particularly granted relief aid which is different, of quality and better than other IDPs around Goma. It was observed that this observation is true but these IDPs are not responsible for that measure, they are just the beneficiaries, they also do not know why it was done in that why.
On the issue of refusing the Police to enter the camp: The president claimed that yes, because in most cases the police officers deployed are often drunkard and because they have guns there is a fear that may may cause misunderstanding with people and provoke incidents, but she indicated that Police Officers are free to enter the camp without guns,
On the issue of other Government agencies, we observed that there is no government agency operating in the camps and those inside have put in place their own way of governing.
In brief we observed that the message circulated about that IDP camp was not true and aimed at creating unnecessary ethnic tension in Goma.
We therefore agreed to engage on various activities aiming at bringing people together in order to promote peace, pacific cohabitation and reduce stigma and stereotype but also combat fake news. A series of activities will be planned together.
Problems we found in the camps
Lack of services
We realized that IDPs in COJENOKI are have issues connected to hygiene especially the durst-bean which is threatening the well-being of people, they also do not have access urgent medical care and recreation opportunities.
The management of camps
We realized that the management of COJENOKI IDP camp is a problem,
The Camp Leadership put in place measures that violate the freedom of people like restriction to move out of the camp and to enter the camp, the restrictions to operate commercial activities, the restriction of the security officers to access the camps especially the Police and the unique management of camps which is different from other camps.
Questions and debate should be engaged on why do we have Tutsi isolated from other IPDs around Goma, and find out at what extend the mere fact of being a Tutsi is a problem in the camp yet it is not a problem in Goma,
Ensure equal treatment of all IDPs around Goma and ensure they access the same services, and the same relief aid,
To encourage the National Intelligence Services to operate from the camps,
Deploy other Government services in IDPs Camps,
Train and deploy police officers in the camps and allow the Police the free movement in camps,
Reduce the circulation of guns in camps and restrict the army officers from accessing the IDPs Camps,
Highly involve various actors of the Civil Society in the daily management of camps,
Strengthen the Ministry of Social Affairs to take the leading role in all IDPs issues in North Kivu,
Kulihoshi Musikami Pecos
Provincial Coordinator/ North Kivu