More than 700 civilians died from 5 to 10 June 2000 in Kisangani after heavy arms conflicts between the Rwandan and Ugandan armies. Even today, the traces of this violence are still there and the pain is still alive.
Monsignor Samuel Lotika has gray hair and well-worn glasses. The provincial president-bishop of Christ Church in Congo barely hides his teary-eyed eyes at the mention of the Six-Day War. “The first one was going to fall in the classroom where my son was studying. Many of the students were dead. It was also thought that my son was dead, but he only caught shrapnel. Seriously injured, he was among the corpses, “he recalls.
Her son was traumatized. He could not bear to stay in Kisangani after these events. Following the waterway, he managed a few months later to find other displaced people in the northern part of the country in the province of Equateur, before reaching Kinshasa.
The children of Lotika Philemon did not have the same luck. “I was 200 meters from my house. I saw people running. I heard a loud noise. Boom! It was around noon. The first bomb fell on my house, it was on avenue Dépotoir No. 15 in the town of Tshopo. I run. I come home, I find all the neighbors crying. The messy house, the kids inside. I saw the bodies on the ground, my three children. One was 11 years old, the other 7 and the last 2, ”says Lotika Philemon.
Years later the pain is still there, so are the questions. Survivor, Pierre Kibaka is a human rights activist. He has been begging for justice and reparation for two decades, but above all he wants the truth to come out on the real motives for these clashes on Congolese soil. “All the inhabitants of Kisangani are victims. These criminals must tell us why they fought in the city of Kisangani. What was the main reason that called them to leave their country to come and fight in our city? Ask Pierre Kibaka.
An association of victims has been formed. Its president Lema Lema Jean, who can only rise thanks to his crutches, expects more from the current head of state. “People must first not just be a slogan. The victims of the six-day war in Kisangani are suffering. If you walk around the city in Tchopo or elsewhere, the ruined houses have still not been rehabilitated, ”he says.