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TRUE! Congo military carried out massacre in Goma amidst protest

CLAIM: The Congolese army, FARDC, deployed its forces to attack the protesting civilians of Goma.

VERDICT: TRUE. Credible news outlets reported the incident, and the international news network Aljazeera confirmed the circulating video to be true.

Full Text

A Facebook handle, identified as Perspective Kantangaise, posted a video clip of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) being responsible for the mass killings of civilians in Goma, a city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“Eyewitnesses on the ground have described a terrifying scene, where the army, instead of battling with the rebels in the mountains, as intended, has resulted into indiscriminately shooting at anyone they encounter on the road,” a part of the video reported. 

In the almost two-minute video, military trucks and an attendant of soldiers are seen manning roads and streets. However, it remains to be determined whether the individual bodies that the soldiers are seen collecting from different corners of the streets and piling up in their trucks are victims of their battery discharge.

The clip further explains that the situation has left the “residents in fear,” and the “absence of any significant response” from any international human rights organisation and political superpowers has only “added to the distress” of the affected locals.

The video further bolsters its claim, stating that “many” have now criticised the military assault in what has been seen as an “egregious violation of human rights.”

The clip also highlights previous reports that the FARDC has been the “primary violator of human rights within the notoriously unstable country. The military rampage only reinforces that perception as the army seems to be acting with impunity and without regard for its citizens”, the video clip determined.

The clip garnered 477 views, 17 likes, and two comments and was shared 16 times as of Tuesday, September 5, 2023.

Due to the seriousness of the claim, we decided to check for its authenticity.

Verification

We conducted a keyword search, leading to several related news publications, including one by  Human Rights Watch

The Human Rights Watch informed that “Congolese security forces shot and killed dozens of protesters”. The report revealed that this happened in Goma on August 30, 2023.

We further linked the details in the report with another keyword search and found a news report by the Associated Press (AP). 

“We are informed of a clash between the Congolese armed forces and members of a religious sect, protesting Western Organisation and killing at least 26 people,” part of the report reads. 

The report also stated that violence broke out on Wednesday in the eastern city of Goma where Wazalendo followers— the religious sector, despite being banned by the city mayor, had still come out against a U.N. peacekeeping mission and other international organisations.

However, we wanted to be sure that the video portrayed scenes of Congolese soldiers collecting bodies of civilians that they killed is true, so we decided to do a keyword search related to any video of that kind.

We came across a similar video posted on Al Jazeera’s YouTube Channel, where we saw scenes bearing the same cinematic characteristics as the version posted by the claimant. In the video, Al Jazeera reports they are “believed to be the bodies of people killed in a crackdown by the DRC’s military against anti-UN demonstration”.

Conclusion

The claim is true. News reports from credible news outlets and a verified video clip shared by Al Jazeera attest to the claim’s authenticity.

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