Congolese transporters announce an indefinite strike in Goma, at a critical moment for thousands of displaced people

Congolese transporters announce an indefinite strike in Goma, at a critical moment for thousands of displaced people
Congolese transporters announce an indefinite strike in Goma, at a critical moment for thousands of displaced people


Archivo – GOMA, April 12, 2024 — Children have fun in the internally displaced persons (IDP) camp, home to tens of thousands of war-displaced people, on the outskirts of Goma, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, April 11, 2024. – Europa Press/Contact/Wang Guansen – Archive

MADRID, Jul 7 (EUROPA PRESS) – More than a hundred water carriers in the city of Goma, the capital of the province of North Kivu, in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo, have declared an indefinite strike to protest against police harassment in a new challenge for thousands of displaced people by the fighting in the region between the Army and the militias of the March 23 Movement (M23), who survive in inhumane conditions on the outskirts of the town.

According to the United Nations broadcaster in the country, Radio Okapi, no water trucks are currently circulating in the city, at the beginning of a strike that, according to the president of the local transporters’ association, Ramazani Kagabo, is the result of police harassment suffered by drivers since the provincial authority declared a restriction on the circulation of heavy vehicles in the city on June 25.

More than 140 trucks remain parked while drivers demand an end to this harassment, which, he says, results in police extortion in exchange for driving licenses. Kagabo points out that the work of drivers is essential to guarantee the survival of the displaced.

“We are the ones who transport water from the south to the fields on the northern outskirts, but the police are everywhere and they are always extorting us, so we have decided to suspend our activities,” he lamented before criticising the travel bans imposed by the authorities to avoid traffic accidents.

Fighting between the army and the M23 militia in North Kivu has devastated the province and has become one of the main flashpoints not only in the Democratic Republic of Congo but practically throughout Africa. Hundreds of thousands of people have been fleeing the fighting for months and eking out a living amid a state of emergency declared by the Congolese authorities in 2021, which has so far been completely ineffective.

The conflict has also sparked a diplomatic standoff between the DRC and Rwanda because the Congolese government claims that the militias are protected by the Rwandan authorities, something the latter vehemently deny.

 
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