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On the way of erasing the socio-cultural identity: When ethnocide against Banyamulenge is ignored

Updated: Feb 14, 2022

The term ethnocide, etymologically means the destruction of an ethnic group socio-culturally, was first introduced by Raphael Lemkin[1] in 1944 as a synonym of genocide. In his book entitled Axis rule in occupied Europe[2], the word ethnocide appears in the notes as a substitute. Progressively, the term changes the meaning, Robert Jaulin, French ethnologist, in the 1970s redefined ethnocide as the act of de-civilization in reference to the forced assimilation of indigenous culture to the West introduced by the slavery and colonization system[3]. Among the main facts targeted by the ethnocide, he cites forced changing of lifestyle, assimilation, kidnapping or deportation. While the American Bar Association defines ethnocide as the destruction of culture while keeping the people[4]. These definitions explain well the moral erasure of group of people in favor of the dominant one. To make a culture disappear also means to make a people stateless. The physical destruction of a human group (genocide) is often preceded or coexists with the destruction of culture and identity of the victims. Based on the definitions, then can we affirm that the Banyamulenge community is a victim of ethnocide? Some elements help us to analyze this situation not yet discussed until today, or debated in another direction, especially the legal-political domain.

Since 1996 the socio-cultural and economic lifestyles of the Banyamulenge have been subject of systematic extinction. The objective is to erase all traces that can bear witness of the existence of the Banyamulenge ethnic group in this part of the country, the highlands of Fizi, Mwenga and Uvira, considered to be its inhabitant stronghold. This article opens the debates on the isolated or even ignored case to the media, political and humanitarian world when it is inseparable with other genocidal facts deserving a particular attention. Our discussion focuses on certain facts of which members of the Banyamulenge community are perpetually victims which testify the existence signs of ethnocide.

Forced change of the usual environment: refugees and internal displacements

Having become refugees[5] and internally displaced[6] since the 1960s, members of the Banyamulenge community have been gradually forced out of their usual environment and this has had a negative impact on their lifestyles. Thus, their culture had to cope with the enormous changes that hamper the transmission of culture from one generation to the next. Banyamulenge's forced displacement dates back to the colonial period, the 1930s. They were forced to flee the colonial administration on the one hand and Chief Mukogabwe Mahina on the other hand. Not only the Banyamulenges were discriminated compared to other ethnic groups, Chief Mukogabwe raided their cows usually. To escape these double threats, some fled to the highlands and joined Chief Kayira Bigimba then relegated to Lulenge by the colonial authorities. In this regard, Muzuri explains that, this last victim of the Mwami raid was installed on the order of the administration in Lulenge[7] adding that among 23 men out of 32 “deported” and 193 head of cattle out of 200 were exterminated by diseases in Lulenge[8]. The Simba rebellion had once again forced members of the Banyamulenge community to flee. This displacement of populations caused another cultural "shock"[9]. The case of Banyamulenge is really particular in the region, it can actually be comparable to that of the Tibetans that remains of Tibetan culture turns into rootless folklore, comparable in that to many European folklore[10]. Returning to our topic of discussion, Ntanyoma explains Set against the backdrop of Banyamulenge struggles to secure Congolese citizenship, the armed seizure of their land and cattle, forced displacement, and hate speech, the overall picture becomes much more disturbing[11] before adding that in wider lenses, forced displacement is part of the strategy to slowly evict them and have their territorial boundaries reduced[12]. The Simba rebellion of the 1960s forced members of the Banyamulenge community to leave their villages, territories, and settle in unusual area. Some settled in Baraka, territory of Fizi and many others in the plain of Ruzizi, territory of Uvira. Both environments have negatively affected the lives of these breeders. Thousands of people have lost their lives from malaria and lack food. Almost all of their cattle died as a result of the unsuitable climate. Witnesses recounted the situation in these as "if the situation remained the same we would not even have the person to tell the story"[13].

The second wave of forced migration, thus refugees and displaced persons, began in 1996 when the AFDL[14] rebels launched attacks on Zairian soil, now RD Conge. These events were the beginning of ordeal for the Banyamulenge community. The first group of refugees from these elements were members of the Banyamulenge community who resided in Bibogobogo, Abela (Ikabera) and Nganja… Fizi territory, in Uvira, Bwegera in Uvira territory. These survivors, mostly women, were deported to the Congo-Rwanda border of Kamanyola, thus directed to Gitarama in Rwanda and many others to Kibuye, still in Rawanda in the refugee camp. The new environments affected their initial ways of life. They were forced to live in the camps where the diet completely changed, so the Kinyamulenge language was gradually assimilated into the dominant language, Kinyarwanda. Another group took refuge in Burundi. We would have some families from several Banyamulenge villages deciding to take refuge in Uganda.

Third forced migration wave was executed in 1998 and marked by the total destruction of all the Banyamulenge villages of Vyura, Shaba province inhabited since the end of 1960s. Vyura was considered to be the second largest inhabitant after the highlands of Fizi, Uvira and Mwenga in South Kivu. Members of the Banyamulenge community were once again forced to take refuge in Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya and some became internally displaced in South Kivu. This is forced migration, several members of the community qualify as "the deportation"[15] planned by Rwanda. Some have settled in the camps of Bwagiriza, Mwaro in Burundu, others in Kiziba in Rwanda, in Nakivale in Uganda. While the Banyamulenge prisoners in Kinshasa, Lubumbashi and other various prisons in 1996 and 1998 were resettled to America and to Rwanda by the UNHCR. As early as 1998, during and after the RCD-APR rebellion, hundreds of thousands of people from the Banyamulenge community left their villages to seek refuge in the countries of the region. In 2004, another forced migratory wave was observed following the war between Col Jules Mutebutsi and Gen Mbuza Mabe in Bukavu[16] causing hundreds of displaced people from Uvira to Burundi, hence the massacre of Banyamulenge in Gatumba[17] on August 13 2004 by the FNL rebels, Mai-Mai.

In 2017, successive attacks were launched in Bijombo, leading to a significant escalation of violence, which then spread to other zones of the high mountains[18]. Several villages have been destroyed[19], abandoned. Thousands of people have been killed by the Mai-Mai coalition with the Burundian rebels of RED-TABARA, FOREBU, and FNL. It is a political conflict, some associations[20] qualify as an ethnic cleansing. This was the first time that IDP camps have been established by UNHCR in the highlands of Fizi, Mwenga, and Uvira after independence. The main camp for displaced people whose residents are mostly members of the Banyamulenge community is located in Mikenge, Mwenga territory, they were came from several villages of Mibunda, after being destroyed by the Mai-Mai in coalition with the Burundian armed groups. Recently in April 2021, the villages of Kahororo and Rurambo, long spared because of efforts, the populations alike had invested for peace. Unfortunately, these villages were burned down, destroyed and the inhabitants forcibly moved to Bwegera, Uvira, Bukavu and Goma. Thousands of internally displaced, and approximately ten thousands Banyamulenge refugees are estimated in the various countries of the region. As a reminder, an important number of them were resettled to the Western countries where they formed the diaspora.

The ethnocide, according to Pierre Clastres is a systematic destruction of the ways of life and thought of people different from those who lead this enterprise of destruction[21]. Banyamulenge IDPs and refugees face two major problems. The first is linked to their original environment, forcibly abandoned, which embodies the originality of their thought, their life as well as their ecosystem interaction. Added to this, is the continual nostalgia fueled by the difficult life they live in which negatively affects social psychology in relation to the new resettled environment. The second problem is observed at the level of adaptations which has enormous consequences for the culture, they are victims of forced assimilation. Children are the most affected by these ethnocidal characteristics, the loss of identity is gradually resulting in the total or partial erasure of this ethnic group.

It is clearly difficult that a Banyamulenge family lived in a well-respected and continuous socio-cultural structure hardly finds itself in a refugee camp hosting several different communities and nationalities. Cultural values ​​are not respected. Young adolescents share the same rooms with their parents, is a new phenomenon, contrary to their culture. As a reminder, the members of the Banyamulenge community (before these human scourges) still live in a patrilocal residence. This explains, the married couple lives in the place associated with the husband's family. However, we observe some who live in the same village with the spouse's family for two reasons. The first is the most frequent where the two families (family of the husband and the wife) reside in the same village then in this case the married couple is obliged to live with their respective families except the particular circumstances such as famine, war, disease. Contrary to this, it is sometimes difficult for the administration of the refugee camps to satisfy these customary values. The most common image of the refugee camp is that of a closed and isolated space in which thousands of people survive through humanitarian assistance[22]. Thus, they are forced to adapt to the new way of life and consequently acculturation progressing in.

Pastoralism as the main mode of subsistence in extinction

We still do not know the beginning of the domestication of large cattle among the Banyamulenge because their presence in eastern DR Congo, several centuries ago pastoralism was already their main profession. Raising large cattle was already their main form of livelihood. And besides, in 1920s they were even called pastoralists by the first Western researchers[23]. On this subject, anthropologists note the symbolic value of cows on a daily basis among these pastoralists. Raising large cattle, especially cows, was and remains the main form of livelihood among the Banyamulenge. The main animals domesticated by them are, among others, cows, sheep and goats.

Raising cows among the Banyamulenge means several things. First the economic value and then the socio-cultural value. Strengthen relations between families is another important value of cows. Few Banyamulenge eat mutton meat, however it is taboo to eat dog meat.

Since 2017, hundreds of thousands of cows belonging to the Banyamulenge have been raided, killed as I have mentioned before by local Mai-Mai and foreign armed groups RED-TABARA facilitated by the national army. These groups use the cows to feed their fighters but also to raise money to finance the war. They are sold at public markets under the supervision of local authorities and looters pay the taxes. If the community members are no longer able not only to maintain it main profession, they feel socially and culturally humiliated when it comes to the dowry system[24]. Especially the number of physical cows to endow the future bride. Strange thing for the community, is “that the parents go to receive millet porridge[25] (gukamisha igikoma) at charity centers to fight malnutrition instead of milk”, testimony of a facilitator within an association in Minembwe.

One can imagine if the Banyamulenge as not able to maintain their identity in the absence of pastoralism. Some believe that a phase of forced assimilation reaches a climax which can be qualified as ethnocide in the sense of a forced change in their lifestyles. The absence of cows in the Banyamulenge culture is a blow to their thought, their hope, it tends towards moral and cultural destruction. If the Kuragira[26], Gushora inka[27], Gukwa inka Buka[28] no longer exist practicing, then what will their daily life be?

The end of transhumance or the beginning of lifestyle destruction of Banyamulenge

Transhumance is defined by anthropologists as the seasonal migration of certain pastoral peoples, some of whose members accompany the herds to new pastures, while the other part of the population remains in a permanent resident[29]. Transhumance would be practiced by Banyamulenge until today. The main places of transhumance were to Lulenge, Fizi territory, Maniema and Tanganyika, since 2017 members of Banyamulenge had becoming persona non grata in those transhumance places.

For the Banyamulenge, this seasonal exodus of cattle is not only practiced in order to protect them against drought. It also has significant cultural value unlike other ethnic groups in South Kivu. In their tradition, transhumance was not based on the number of cows, on the other hand was considered as a socio-cultural activity. Even for families who could not get enough cows, easier to feed during the summer, they practice transhumance. In this case, they integrate their cows among others to form a herd. Often the herds are formed on the basis of clans, here several small families can form their herd. Sometimes the herds are formed on free choice, regardless of family affiliations. However, some small families can keep their herds, this happens to families who have several hundred cows difficult to mix them among the family herds. The rotations of cow companions do not depend on the number of cows, for each but rather are carried out socially. If the period of staying with the cows is three months, then everyone except it, except circumstances, must respect them regardless of the number of cows for each.

The end of summer and the return of the herds is a memorable event for Banyamulenge, everyone is curious to see their cows again. For some, is an emotional event characterized by the end of nostalgia towards children who spend several months away from their families, but also towards their herds. The calves which have been put down during the transhumance increase the curiosities. So, depriving Banyamulenge of this informal and emotional ceremony is another way to kill them culturally, it is an ethnocide act.

The absence of cows among Banyamulenge: a forced assimilation

For more than three centuries the Banyamulenge have practiced the breeding of cows. Neighboring communities that do not practice it consider the cows to be one of the identity characteristics of the Banyamulenge even though some members of the Bafulero community own the cows. These different ways of life between the communities have repeatedly provoked hatred against Banyamulenge. They are accused of being rich because of their cattle, for them it is for this reason that they do not accept interethnic marriage. If the marriage is arranged in relation to cows among the Banyamulenge, this is not applicable for other neighboring ethnicities who endow goats, hoes and other materials. According to the Banyamulenge culture, it is necessary to think of the cows to endow the future spouse before all procedures. So raiding the Banyamulenge cows is a strategy of cultural assimilation into other ethnicities.

The cultural value of domestic animals is observed among almost all herders, however it is beyond the economic among the Banyamulenge. It is a symbol of mediation for families, it is also estimable in human value in the process and the wedding ceremony. A girl who has been endowed with several cows also finds that she has additional value in her new family (in-laws) and that of her parents. It has relational value, a family that gives the cow to another shows extraordinary intimacy. Once the group member commits the faults against another from a small or large family member, the offender is obliged to pay a cow almond, this is called "Ichiru" symbolizing the reestablishment of relationship between the families in social desputes. Having a lot of cows could influence honor among community members.

There is a common taboo for all the peoples of the world, except in the circumstances of rites exceptionally observed among fetishists, coupling between father and daughter, sister and brother, mother and son is considered taboo for almost everyone societies. So there are many other taboos particularly observed among certain groups, tribes or communities. The taboo around the cow is mostly observed among Banyamulenge. For them, it is forbidden to eat the meat of cows while drinking the milk. Moreover, some members cannot eat the meats of their cows. Once they had eaten, they would select a few parts, the kidneys ... After introducing modern breeding since the 1950s, then they began to consume their cows' whole meats but some members remain resentful on this act.

This value is only observed among the Banyamulenge dispute of hundreds of ethnicities in the Congo. Consequently, the absence of cows for them can be seen as a form of forced assimilation into the lifestyles of other majority ethnic groups. In this sense, it is an act of ethnocide perpetrated against the Banyamulenge, since they are forced to live the way of life of others, therefore, the lifestyles of powerful ethnic groups. Except, some members of the Bafulero community who became cow ranchers, the remains consider cows in economic terms. Consuming their meats is the main objective of breeding cows, in other words there is no other value attributed to cows apart from the consumption of their meats. If other ethnic groups facilitated by national army have committed since 2017 to raiding cows of Banyamulenge, this is a way of not only making the Banyamulenge poorer and more vulnerable, but also forcing them to assimilate into the lifestyles of Babembe, Bafulero and Banyindu. Instead of protecting the Banyamulenge and their tangible and intangible heritages, the Congolese state is working alongside ethnocidaires to make all cultural traces nonexistent.

Three phases mark the extinction of cows and coincide with the killing of the owners. The first starting with Simba rebellion in 1960s, as members of Banyamulenge community were hunting down their cows were targeted too. Those survived raids were killed by tropical diseases and left many families without cows, situation in which they never happened before. The second phase started in 1996 when AFDL rebellion had attacked Zaire and 1998 during RCD rebellion. Hundreds of thousands cows had been raided by Mai-Mai and the former national army in different parts of south Kivu and Katanga provinces. The third is at final step of extinction, from 2015, the raiders came with strategy well planned. As they did before, this time they have executed the plan by raiding 99% of cows belonging to Banyamulenge. As mentioned before, every family was affected by this situation that running until now. The least not last raid took place in 13th July 2021. These continuing traumatic moment have changed life of Banyamulenge. Except the ongoing killing exclusively targeting them, their life would be forced to assimilate to those of other communities.

Deportation and captivity: act of erasing the cultural identity of Banyamulenge

The phenomenon of captivity and deportation date back to the 1960s[30] during the Simba, Mulele rebellion, however it has become more and more frequent since the launch of the AFDL rebels in 1996. In addition, a general surprise fell on the Banyamulenge as what, the Rwandans demanded the massive and global displacement (deportation) of Banyamulenge to Rwanda[31]. Several deportation and captivity events have been documented by human rights organizations. However, the most two of them caught our interest for two reasons. The first is due to the number of deportees and the context in which the plan was executed. The second reason has to do with the age of the victims of captivity. The only difference is observed by the executors because the deportation of Banyamulenge of Vyura had been planned and executed by Kigali regime while the captive operations had been carried out by the Mai-Mai and certain local authorities.

The Mulele rebellion left dozens of Banyamulenge captive in the hands of the Simba groups. Some were finally released while the majority disappeared, no one knows their fate. The majority of the victims of captivity are said to have been women and children. In 1996, this strategy of captivity became a weapon of acculturation or even ethnocide. After the Banyamulenge massacre in Baraka, Lueba, Mboko, Nganja and others 146 children[32] were captured and directed to Tanzania and some returned to Congo[33], only five of them were miraculously reunited with their families after more than twenty years. This captive strategy was not only aimed at uprooting Banyamulenge but also aimed at erasing the socio-cultural traces of Banyamulenge. It is an act of ethnocide.

Some of the five who returned to their families testified to having been "adopted" or hosted by the Babembe families. Upon arriving in Tanzania some were welcomed and accommodated in the Nyarugusu refugee, Catholic charitable centers before they allegedly disappeared from various places among the families of refugees and Tanzanians. It is undoubtedly that all these people victims of captivity since 1960s, if they still exist they could not escape the ethnocide, that is to say they completely lost their identity in favor of the captor’s culture.

As for the deportation, this controversial subject remains little questionable by the fear of the organizers of the deportation. Indeed, some victims labeled it as "protection". The deportation of Banyamulenge who lived in Vyura, Moba territory, Shamba province in November 1998 was well prepared by the RPA, Rwandan army. Everything changed after the launch of the RCD rebellion at Goma by Rwanda through some Congolese. These are the period characterized by the hunting of men, wherever Banyamulenge were living. The Banyavyura[34] had resisted for over three months before the RCD-APR soldiers forced them to leave their homeland to countries of the great lakes region, with pretext of bringing them to the safer places. In October, a delegation of Banyamulenge leaders sought help from the RCD-APR rebels in Kalemi. The mostly Rwandan officers explained to the delegation that they could not intervene at this time because of the widespread attacks. On the other hand, they advised them to leave their villages to where they could be much “protected”. The delegation returned to Vyura. So the civilians decided to continue the resistance instead of abandoning their villages, property... For Rwanda, it was an opportunity to deport the Banyamulenge, a plan failed in 1996.

A month later the resistance had received the first RCD-APR rebel fighters, astonishing a few days after the fighting, APR officer John based in Kalemi had given orders that all civilians were to evacuate to Kalemi. The military on the ground conveyed the message to the leaders saying that it is difficult to resist with the civilians when it is better to evacuate the civilians as the war becomes much “complicated” as expected. The only option for the Banyamulenge was to obey the military order hitherto considered "protective".

Kigali's main objective was to gradually destroy the strongholds of Banyamulenge. Miraculously, they managed to get to Kalemi even some of them lost their lives on the way. Arriving there, a delegation would have already prepared in advance composed in majority by members of the Banyamulenge community including Moise Nyarugabo to explain to the displaced the important of leaving their lands, and advising them to continue to South Kivu. The Banyamulenge did not have much choice, they had continued journey to Uvira. Considering their living style, the majority could not resist the citadel life, they decided cross the borders and seeking asylum in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Kenya. Only a few families have returned to the highlands of Uvira, Fizi and Mwenga.

Two reasons can explain Vyura's case as a deportation. The first reason is the historical context. Since 1996 Kigali has tried to suggest the Banyamulenge to leave their homeland and settle in Rwanda under the pretext of preventing possible massacres against them. In 1996, Rwandan officers reportedly in a meeting at Butare (southern province) with Banyamulenge opinion leaders. The meeting was about to convince Banyamulenge to come to Rwanda, but meeting went wrong as they declined Rwanda request. Frustrated by such resistance, the Rwanda representative said "we have a thousand ways to capture the hare". For them, they must prevent all kinds of resistance that may rise within Banyamulenge. The second reason was the non-intervention before the Vyura was not emptied of their inhabitants. Observers ask why the rebels intervened late despite knowing the dangers the civilians were facing. Why after the "evacuation" did they never consider returning? Why did they rush the evacuation process to Kalemi, Uvura and to neighboring countries?

Banyamulenge, victims of ethnocide

According to Gregory H. Stanton, a third stage of the genocide points out to the customs as the target for the planners of the genocide. A dominant group uses law, customs and political power to deny the rights of other groups[35]. On August 22, 2001 a sign of conspiracy theory of ethnocide against the Banyamulenge has been re-launched by General James Kabare then head of the Rwandan army by denying the existence of Banyamulenge as an ethnic group in Congo. He declaring that the Banyamulenge are neither clan nor tribe, however they can be considered as the inhabitants of Mount Kigali. This statement aimed to make people understand the nonexistence of this community while confirming that they are much Rwandan. To say that wherever the Banyamulenge live should not be considered as an ethnic group like other groups in the country. It also reveals the idea of deportation plan that Rwanda has tried since 1996. The former president of Rwanda Mr. Pasteur Bizimungu on October 28 on the expulsion of Banyamulenge to Rwanda who declared "if Zaire wants to send the Banyamulenge to Rwanda, that they also give us their land”. For Kigali, the fact that the Banyamulenge are sent back to Rwanda with their lands and "integrated" among the Rwandans means the total loss of teir own the culture and heritage, in other words it is a significant sign of ethnocide theory.

In this context, the ethnocidal project aims only to exterminate the cultural traces of Banyamulenge by means of erasing identity, that is to say, to end one culture in favor of another dominant culture nationally or internationaly. In the DRC, history often takes on the appearance of a political battlefield, and this is certainly the case of the Banyamulenge, perceived by many Congolese as recent immigrants with no legitimate right to Congolese citizenship[36]. These tensions were in part due to their cultural differences. In addition to the pastoral lifestyle and distinct history of the Banyamulenge, there were differences of authority structures, diets, standards of wealth and work, and other social customs[37]. Not only, the Banyamulenge are discriminated against on the basis of their culture, they are also considered as foreigners, therefore the negation of their culture in the country. The ethnocide theorists try to place Banyamulenge culture out of national micro-culture phenomena. The racial hatred prompted them to adopt an increasingly communal behavior. And ethnic identification becomes more important than national identification[38]. Thus, it evokes the process of cultural cleansing, the pretext to justify the physical extermination.

In a letter addressed to the Secretary General of the United Nations by representatives of the Banyamulenge community, dated in April 27th 2021 relates the systematic killings since 1996[39]. The shift from cultural to physical elimination constitutes both the act of ethnocide and genocide. Kivu Security Tracker on the situation of Banyamulenge explains that they have committed numerous abuses against the Banyamulenge villages, burning them, looting their cattle, and forcing them, in fact, to live in a few enclaves like that of Minembwe[40]. These abuses are fueled by hate speech that aims to deny the existence of an ethnic Tutsi in Congo, and that the Banyamulenge deserve expulsion on Congolese soil to Rwanda. Some even manage to voluntarily deny the territorial administration of Minembwe, the only rural administrative locality inhabited mainly by members of the Banyamulenge community[41]. And yet, erected in the process of decentralization at the same time as many rural communes[42].


Banyamulenge's current situation leaves us with a crucial question about their cultural identity for years to come. Surviving physically or not, in this context does not necessarily explain the identity will survive too, that is to say the ways of life, language, culture ... of Banyamulenge. On the other hand, very clear, visible signs predict not only they are facing the physical extermination but also the cultural disappearance of Banyamulenge. This will led the confirmation of the non-existence of this community in certain place or country. The existence of a people in a given environment does not also testify only by their number, but rather by its cultural particularity, an important element of cultural diversity. The erasure of all socio-cultural and economic traces of a human group feeds doubt about its existence in time and space.

Bibliography and References

[1] Jurist Polish Jewish, then American, who created in 1943 the term and concept of genocide and argued first at the Nuremberg Tribunal, then at the UN in 1948 [2] Raphael Lemkin's., Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation - Analysis of Government - Proposals for Redress, Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1944, p.77 [3] Robert Jaulin., La Paix blanche, Introduction à l'ethnocide, Paris, Éditions du Seuil, coll. « Combats », 1970, p.591-592. [4] The American Bar Association, definition of the word ethnocide,, consulted on July 07, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. [5] A refugee is a person who “fearing with reason of being persecuted because of his race, his religion, his nationality, his membership of a certain social group or his political opinions, is outside the country of which he is nationality and who cannot or, because of this fear, does not want to claim the protection of this country ... High Commissioner for Refugees., Protecting refugees: the role of UNHCR, the 1951 Convention relating to refugee status, 2009, p.3 [6] Individuals or groups of people who have been forced or coerced to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, human rights violations or natural or man-made disasters or to avoid their effects, and which have not crossed the internationally recognized borders of a State. The International Committee of the Red Cross, Internally Displaced Persons and International Humanitarian Law, file:///C:/Users/Aigs/AppData/Local/Temp/fr-personnes-deplacees.pdf accessed July 07, 2021 at 4:32 p.m. [7] Gasinzira Muzuri., Evolution des conflits ethniques dans l’Itombwe : des origines à nos jours, mémoire de licence en histoire, Universite de Lubumbashi, 1982, p.54 [8] Ibidem, p.55 [9] Ruhimbika, Manassé (Müller). Les Banyamulenge (Congo-Zaïre) entre deux Guerres, L’Harmattan, Paris, 2001, p.17 [10] Laurent Deshayes et Frédéric Lenoir., L'épopée des tibétains, Fayard, Paris, 2004, p.340 [11] Rukumbuzi Delphin Ntanyoma., Under the shadow of violence: slow genocide of the Banyamulenge in Eastern DRC, Working Paper, No. 682, international institute of social sciences, May 2021, p.9 file:///C:/Users/Aigs/AppData/Local/Temp/wp682.pdf , consulted le 15 Jun 2021 at 10h30 [12] Ibidem, p.26 [13] Anonymous witnesses of Baraka and Ruzizi of the situation [14] The Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (AFDL), a rebellion led by Laurent-Désiré Kabila in 1996 [15] "It was the RPF who destroyed Vyura", testimony of Pastor Seba Kiyana published by 1 Africa Chenne on April 29, 2021, , consulted on July 10, 2021 at 2:42 p.m. [16] Human Rights Watch. 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[24] Dowry system in which several cows are given to the family of the future bride [25] Testimony of Michel Nfitumukiza, employee of an NGO which fights against male nutrition in Minembwe, video published by Gakondo TV and Radio on June 7, 2021,, consulted on July 07 2021 at 4:21 p.m. [26] Keeping cows on pasture [27] Direct the cows to the river to drink water [28] Custom of giving cows(Dowry) to the family of the future bride [29] Haviland, W et all., Peuples et cultures: une introduction à l’anthropologie sociale et culturelle, Madulo, Québec, 2013, p.92 [30] Kirumba and Gatongo massacres are the first members of Banyamulenge ethnic group became victims of captivity [31] Braeckman Colette., L’enjeu congolais : l’Afrique centrale après Mobutu, Fayard, 1999, p.247 [32] Delphin R. 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Prosper Baseka wa Baseka

PhD student, Bircham International University

The construction of sensitive memory in DR Congo

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