Humanitarian CrisesNews

52 Hostages Held By Mai-Mai Rebels Regain Freedom

Rebels of the Mai-Mai Biloze Bishambuke group on Saturday, Oct. 23, released 52 hostages they took during raids on the locality of Bibokoboko between Oct. 12 and 15.

Among the released civilians were children, women and old persons.

Those released have been taken to the displaced persons camp of Mushimbambya in Baraka, accompanied by their chief and civil society officials.

Release of the hostages followed an instruction by Kibukila Mtetezi, the leader of the  Mai-Mai militia but several other hostages, especially young people were executed, HumAngle learnt. 

“My three children were killed. Accompanied by children and women, they took us to Kakuku. During the night they came and separated us from our four boys and took them to an unknown destination,” narrated Chief Kakongo Bitandar of Kivumu village who was among the hostages. 

“We were liberated after the involvement of the Mai-Mai chief Kibukila Mtetezi who was not in support of the attacks in the first place. They say they have been killing us because we the Banyamulenge are Rwandans and peace would return the day we return to Rwanda.”

The Mai-Mai Bilozebishambuke, led by Assani Mbakanya have since Oct. 13, 2021 been attacking villages in the lower Fizi plateau. They have  killed at least 30 persons and carted away cattle.

It is estimated that about 8,000 persons fleeing clashes between Mai-Mai militias and the Twigwaneheo group in the lower Fizi plateau have since last week arrived and are now living in different quarters of Baraka in South Kivu.

The Communication Unit of the Mayor’s Office says the majority of the displaced persons have been welcomed into private homes while others are housed in the Mushimbakye camp without the necessary humanitarian assistance.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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