Submission during the security meeting on the
Our submission during the meeting security Task-Force in Goma, on the current situation of security in Goma
North Kivu province affected by war from various armed groups, among them the most active and dangerous is the M23 back by Rwanda and Uganda which started the war in April 2022. This war has forced people to run away from their and as per now more than 3million people are living in camps just around the town of Goma, which is considered as safe per now. The war is ongoing but the Authorities continue to assure people that Goma will not be affected. Goma has been over the years in itself highly affected by urban criminality characterized by various assassinations and killings caused by armed people, breaking in houses at night in order to robe people or in some cases to loot, cases of rape at night in some places, and taking of people property especially phones at night by armed people putting on Military Uniforms.
Yet as per now Goma has a variety of security services among them the Congolese Army, the UN Force, the EAC Force including the Wazalemgo among others. Despite all these Goma is highly affected especially in some areas which are highly populated.
This meeting also comes at the time when the East African Force is expected to leave in this month of December 2023.
In order to respond to this security situation, the government imposed the military regime in north kivu and in Ituri provinces, and now efforts are being done to ensure effective collaboration between the security services and the civilians, in this way the idea of the security task-force was introduced in Goma which brings together all security agencies and various actors of the Civil Society.
In the meeting we shall present on the following issues which do attract mostly our attention:
Cases of insecurity caused by armed people putting on Military Uniforms especially in Goma who take phones and money from people at night generally on roadsides.
The failure of the security interventions when people are attacked at night, in some cases witnesses have alleged that assallants operate even more than two hours and no one comes to stop them,
Gun-shots at night in various places in Goma: Each time in the evening there are gun-shots and this put people in fear,
The issue of road blockages in areas under the government control especially road check-points where people are taken of what they have,
The management of Internally Displaced Camps (IDPs) around Goma and to ensure that armed people especially Government Soldiers are removed and replaced by the Police and the intelligence services,
Lastly the management of refugees and asylum seekers and to ensure that they properly protected and safe from harm.
On these will be added the general issues of Police being drunk while at work, the issue of the good uniforms to Police Officers, the salary for the Police Officers, the cars which can facilitate their movements are part of the issues.
The activation of the intelligence services in order to come up with a comprehensive report on the actors who break-into houses in Goma at night, but also the way they operate.
Generally the security situation in Goma and its surroundings is worse when there are highly placed political actors who want to come, in most cases at least two weeks or one week before they visit Goma, the security situation is too bad, when they come and when they leave the situation is often back to normal. In some cases we also observe security concerns where they are actions against the United Nations Mission Force.
Lastly the issue of the Wazalendo who are detained because they organized a demonstration should be speedily handled and they should be released because they are the victims.
Agenda of the meeting
First of the meeting which programmed at 4pm started at 5pm and it was chaired by the Army General in-charge of the Province of North Kivu.
Three points were on the agenda
The security situation in Goma
The training of some members of the security Task-Force,
The protection of members of the task-force,
The chairperson greeted the people and welcomed them to the meeting, he recognized that the meeting had taken some months without being held and yet it was highly important. Three major events have motivated the meeting, we fact that we are now approaching festive season, the elections in December 20th and the campaigns for the outgoing president of DRC.
The meeting observed that the security in Goma is worse as criminals are active in town and the intervention from the security services is almost not there. A list of 7 wanted persons was presented to participants, and they were informed about preventive measures to put arrest some people and keep them somewhere for a while.
The meeting was informed that an organization is willing to training members of the task-force and this will be part of the capacity and empowerment. In this way other organizations were also encouraged to support what is being done. In terms of interventions the meeting was informed that some vehicles have been mobilized for that and the need of having people who are familiar with the whole town of Goma.
The security of members of the task-force
Some cases of threats and intimidations against members of task-force were presented and measures were taken to ensure that each person is safe. The task-force was reminded that their main work is to gather information and communicate any suspected movement of people.
Questions and answers
The questions were in mostly on the preventive measures that should be put in place, which the Army General was not interested in and argued so much of the interventions. Issues of the Police Officers who are bribed and release the suspects was addressed and also the courts that release the suspects.