During the night of August 13, 2004, in a refugee camp in Burundi, Africa called Gatumba, 166 innocents from the Democratic Republic of Congo were mercilessly slaughtered by armed factions. These 166, the 116 others who were maimed and injured, and their traumatized families, were almost exclusively members of the Banyamulenge tribe, who had earlier been forced from their homes in the southern Kivu region of the DRC.
President Bush will welcome President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo to the White House on October 26, 2007. Tell both men to support justice for the survivors of Gatumba and protect those who may still be in danger.
Presidents Bush and Kabila,
During the night of August 13, 2004, at the Gatumba refugee camp in Burundi, 166 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo were mercilessly slaughtered by armed factions. Hundreds more were left injured while their families were shattered and traumatized by the experience. Those attacked were targetted because they are members of the Banyamalenge tribe.
While a fortunate group of over 500 Banyamalenge survivors have been able to relocate to the United States, hundreds more still live in fear in refugee camps in Africa. To this date, their attackers, members of the Forces Nationales de Liberation (FNL)
, have not been brought to justice.
Atrocities continue to be committed against the Banyamalenge by the FNL,
elements of the Congolese army and former members of the Interahamwe
, the group responsible for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Reports indicate tens of thousands have been killed in North and South Kivu provinces, while hundreds of thousands have been displaced. Women and children have been specifically targeted, rape and the use of child soldiers has been widespread.
We the undersigned urge you to do whatever is in your power to end impunity for the perpitrators of the Gatumba massacre and ensure the safety of Banyamalenge still living in Democratic Republic of Congo. President Kabila has a responsibility to protect his own citizens, and the United States has a responsibility to consider their safety when negotiating with his government.
Thank you for your time and attention.