September 1, 2023, Bukavu — I am deeply outraged by the shocking images of the massacre suffered by demonstrators from the politico-religious movement “La Foi Naturelle Judaïque Messianique vers les Nations” (FNJMN) in Goma on Wednesday, August 30, 2023.
The death toll was very high: the Congolese government reported 43 dead and 56 wounded. Civil society organizations put the toll much higher.
I strongly condemn this barbaric act perpetrated by members of the Congolese army, whose primary mission is to protect our population and our territory.
The FARDC’s use of force was disproportionate, unacceptable and reprehensible.
This umpteenth blunder illustrates the urgent need for far-reaching reform of the security sector to professionalize the defense and security forces.
I extend my sincere condolences to the families of the victims and express my sympathy to them.
I urge our government to :
-Declare national mourning;
-Ensure that the victims are identified;
-Take charge of the care of the injured and provide psychological support to the families of the victims and to the members of their politico-religious movement;
-Organize official funerals and bury the victims with dignity;
-Initiate an independent inquiry to shed full light on this tragic incident, and ensure that the perpetrators of these despicable acts are tried and sentenced in accordance with the law.
Dr. Denis Mukwege
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate