International Outcry as Congo Calls for Sanctions Following Rwandan Bombardment of Displaced Persons Camp

On May 6, 2024, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government issued a statement condemning a series of bombings that occurred on May 3, 2024, targeting the Mugunga displaced persons camp in Goma. According to official reports, the attack originated from Karuba, an area in the Kiroche heights under the control of the Rwandan army, and involved the launching of five bombs.

This recent incident is part of a three-month campaign of similar attacks by the Rwandan military, which have predominantly targeted civilian areas with the apparent intent to terrorize an already suffering population. Past incidents include bombings near a primary school and a market in Mugunga on February 2 and 7, respectively, drone strikes on Goma International Airport on February 17, and attacks on civilians in Sake on February 22 and in Nzulo on March 18.

The DRC government has strongly condemned these actions, describing them as terrorist acts and potential war crimes by Rwanda on Congolese territory. These attacks not only violate international humanitarian law but also indicate Rwanda’s disregard for international calls for a ceasefire and troop withdrawal.

In response to the ongoing aggression, the DRC has assured its citizens, particularly displaced individuals, of its commitment to their protection and the preservation of national territorial integrity. The government has implemented urgent security measures and plans to counteract further encroachments with appropriate responses, holding those responsible accountable before international justice systems.

Furthermore, the DRC government is appealing to the international community, including facilitators of the Luanda process, to take decisive political and economic sanctions against Rwanda to deter its hostile activities.

The international response to the bombing was immediate, with countries including the United States, the European Union, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and France, condemning the attack. The French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs expressed solidarity with the victims on May 6, 2024, denouncing the escalation of violence and the disregard for humanitarian law exhibited by the use of heavy weaponry near displacement camps.