DRC President Felix Tshisekedi has met with representatives of the Kinyarwanda-speaking communities amid fears that the hate speech against Rwandophones could spark ethnic violence in the eastern part of the resource-rich country.
The meeting was held at the presidential palace in Kinshasa.
During the engagement on Thursday the President’s guests sought guarantees about the security of Rwandophones amid tensions sparked by the M23 rebellion in North Kivu.
“The delegation of Rwandan-speaking Tutsi Congolese notables asked about their security in the DRC,” the DRC Presidency said in a statement to ChimpReports.
‘The President reassured his guests of his firm determination to see all Congolese, whatever their tribes or ethnic groups, live in cohesion, harmony and without any discrimination,” the statement added.
Tshisekedi last week declared war on Tutsi-dominated M23 rebels whom Kinshasa says are backed by Rwanda. He also directed the army to mobilise youth to join the armed forces to counter the M23 threat,
The mobilisation sparked fears that the Kinyarwanda-speaking communities could be targeted by the mobilised militia as it happened in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
Le Chef de l’État, Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo s’est entretenu, hier jeudi, avec une délégation des Notables Congolais tutsi rwandophones, sur la question de leur sécurité partout où ils se retrouvent en RDC. pic.twitter.com/KP1DgQWYcA
— Présidence RDC 🇨🇩 (@Presidence_RDC) November 11, 2022
However, in a national address, Tshisekedi said his countrymen should “not to yield to Xenophobia and other hate speech or stigmatization of Rwandophone communities being used to blackmail us.”
He also urged the youth to organize a “vigilant group in order to support, accompany and support our defense and security forces in accomplishing their noble mission.”
The African Union and United Nations have since warned Congolese authorities to reign in acts of hate speech and discrimination against the Kinyarwanda-speaking communities.