Mugunga, the largest refugee camp in the world at the time, destroyed and refugees mercilessly killed

THAT DAY… November 14, as today.

On November 14, 1996, elements of the AFDL (Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo) seized the Mugunga refugee camp (in North Kivu province), the largest refugee camp in the world at that time, with a population of more than 1 million Hutu refugees.

This was the beginning of the long war between the Zairian Armed Forces (FAZ) and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) which operated under the name Banyamulenge and AFDL. Because, it is the Rwandan Chief of Staff who will be the commander of the operations and the assault that was being prepared.

After the fall of the cities of Uvira (25 October), Bukavu (29 October) and Goma (1 November), thousands of Rwandan refugees who had not agreed to return to Rwanda had massed in Mugunga camp.Very quickly, Mugunga, had become the symbol of resistance.

Between 1 and 14 November, the FAR (ex-Rwandan Armed Forces) from other camps already ransacked by the AFDL as well as Mayi-Mayi armed groups (from Sake) will ensure the resistance, blocking the AFDL soldiers 7 kilometers from the Mugunga camp.

But on November 12, after entering into an alliance with the local Mayi-Mayi, AFDL soldiers took control of the hills surrounding Sake, encircling refugees and other ex-FAR fighters and Armed Interahamwe civilians amassed between Mugunga camp and the city.

And on November 14, AFDL soldiers fired indiscriminate heavy weapons at Mugunga camp and its surroundings for six hours, killing an unknown number of refugees.

On the afternoon of 14 November, after heavy fighting with the Mayi-Mayi in Sake, the ex-FAR present in the Mugunga camp broke the encirclement and fled towards Masisi, dragging many refugees in their wake.

When AFDL soldiers enter Mugunga camp, they order the refugees who are still breathing to return to Rwanda. These terrorized refugees agreed to return to Rwanda, while more than 300,000 other people were sinking into the interior of the country.

Many of these refugees will be killed during the advance of AFDL troops towards Kinshasa.

source :

Rwandan refugees sit on a buses and in tents at the Mugunga Refugee Camp, a camp mainly for militia.

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