• Image 1 of 17

Raia Mutomboki: "Outraged Citizens"

Diana Zeyneb Alhindawi | South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Decaying Belgian colonial era structures speak to the area’s history of mining, and to Congo’s struggles with outsiders who vied for its riches. Lulingu was a central site for Belgian colonial mining operations until the 1960s. After independence, the Belgians returned as contractors and remained in the area until 1988. It is one of the two biggest points in the province for cassiterite mining, and was thus a key site for mining during Belgian colonial times. The town still benefits from certain infrastructure set in place by the colonial enterprises, such as very basic electrical power lines and a river dam. Dec. 29, 2013.

The Raia Mutomboki, a diffuse network of armed citizens organized under four separate factions, collectively made up the largest rebel group in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in early 2014. Their Kiswahili name translates to “Outraged Citizens,” and summarizes the impetus for their creation: outrage at the massacres, rapes and countless unspeakable atrocities suffered at the hands of the Interahamwe, the perpetrators of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide who have inhabited the jungles of neighboring eastern DRC since they were chased out of Rwanda nearly twenty years ago. Having no hope of returning home, the Interahamwe has continuously tried to carve out its place in Congo, attacking villages and fighting for control over mineral rich areas and mines. When it became clear that the Congolese state was failing to protect its citizens, groups of affected Congolese villagers decided to take security into their own hands— they banded, armed themselves and formed the Raia Mutomboki, first in 2005 and again in 2011. This photo essay follows the Moise Kikuni faction of the Raia Mutomboki, which has since been disbanded. 

Content loading...

Make Comment/View Comments