DR Congo: Goma, a city living on the edge

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Nearly 15 years after the deadly eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano and four years after the M23 rebel offensive, Goma is still tending its wounds. Amid uneven reconstruction efforts, the stability of the largest city in eastern DR Congo remains fragile. Mehdi Meddeb and Maxime Souville report.
The volcanoes are one side, Lake Kivu on the other. Today sees a fragile peace, while yesterday bore witness to war and insurgencies. Goma, it seems, is used to extremes. Bustling with construction work, the capital of North Kivu province, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is a city living on the edge. Goma faces multiple threats: an active volcano, a potential gas explosion under Lake Kivu, ethnic conflicts and political tensions. Moreover, with President Kabila’s mandate due to officially expire on Monday December 19, there is concern for the future.
Goma remains calm but tense. The city seems desperate to cling to peace, after so many years of insurgencies, forced exoduses, cholera epidemics and refugee influxes, which have all profoundly destabilised a region of strategic importance for Africa’s Great Lakes.

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7 Responses

  1. The Congo – yet another pathetic example of an African country given its independence way too early, before the indigenous population had the abilities and training to be able to run the country. The inevitable result? Dictators, war, famine, poverty and chaos. Far-sighted people, both European and African, warned about this at the time but were dismissed as colonialists or racists. But the same scenario has been repeated all over Africa; the “Dark Continent” indeed…

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