One piece of the puzzle: Interrupting hate speech

One piece of the puzzle: Interrupting hate speech

This story is part of our ‘piece of the puzzle’ mini-series that shares the important work that our partners the Beni Peace Forum are doing on the ground in Eastern DR Congo:

Interrupting hate speech

In November 2019, the national army (FARDC) increased its presence in Beni Territory as part of wide-scale operations against ADF in Eastern Congo. Often, soldiers are brought from other parts of the DRC and ethnic tensions between soldiers and local communities can flare up. In Mamiki, the Beni Forum’s ‘Local Protection Committee’ became aware of a soldier, originally from South Kivu, who was spouting hate speech and threatening the local population.

Often, soldiers are brought from other parts of the DRC and ethnic tensions between soldiers and local communities can flare up.

“I came from the Rwandan rebellion,” he is quoted as saying. “We will kill the entire population on the east side of the Oicha National Road. We will take your plots of land and your fields, because we have the documents to prove this is our property.” He went further to say, “TUTA BAKONDAKONDA” which means “We will behead you.” Speaking to the villagers, most of whom are from the Nande ethnic group and who have endured massacres since 2014, he began listing the villages that would be targeted, claiming that the leader of his company would verify this threat.

Instead of fleeing, people spoke to members of the Local Protection Committee who alerted BPF to what was happening. BPF contacted the soldier’s superiors as well as security officials in the area and explained the impact these threats were having on the people of Mamiki. Soon thereafter, the soldier was no longer present in the village. He may have been transferred to another location, or sanctioned in some other way. BPF does not have access to the internal processes of FARDC, but the people of Mamiki counted this as a successful de-escalation of identity-based harassment and threats.

  Read more of the series

Related content

Peace Direct welcomes two new US board members

Read more »

Mining for Peace in the DRC

The Democratic Republic of Congo has seen decades of violent conflict. Gold reserves have often been considered a driver of these conflicts. With over 160 armed groups active in eastern DRC, this is a widespread threat to peace in the region. Read more »

One year on from the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, women and girls must not be forgotten

Twelve months ago, on August 15th, the Taliban declared that it had taken control of Afghanistan, two decades after the US-led invasion. Peace Direct published a statement at the time, in solidarity, and expressing our concern for women and youth peacebuilders at risk of reprisal. Read more »

Comments

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *