“Several days ago, farmers still lived there”
The M23 invited journalists from Goma to prove to the world that they, in fact, did have control over the small village of Mutaho, which the Congolese authorities claimed to have retaken after some fighting. They brought us there in Jeeps. The part of the village that I visited was indeeded controlled by the rebels. [Contacted by FRANCE 24, a Congolese army spokesman claimed, once again, that the army controlled the entire village’s territory.] On-site, soldiers were absolutely delighted to see us. Some were peacefully cooking, others were joking around as we walked through the village. They particularly insisted on showing us how this village has a view over the city of Goma, given its elevated position. The rebels told us that, from their vantage point, they can see what is going on in each neighbourhood of Goma, and that they can also supervise activity at the airport.The view of Goma.An abandoned home in Mutaho.There isn’t a single civilian left in Mutaho. Absolutely everyone has fled. You can’t help but be sad when you see these men swaggering around this ghost town as if it belonged to them. Several days ago, farmers still lived here. They were forced to leave right as the bean crop was starting to grow. Now these innocent civilians are on the road, starving. In Goma, there are just so many displaced persons. They can’t find work and they have nothing to eat.In the village.