Africa

Football stars unite against tragedy: DRC players condemn Goma school bombing

People gather at a school hit by explosive devices in Mugunga, North Kivu province, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, on Feb. 2, 2024. Several injuries were reported Friday after two explosive devices fell on the primary school in Mugunga, a Xinhua correspondent saw on site. (Str/Xinhua)

Congolese football players, including Captain Chancel Mbemba, Cédric Bakambu, Gédéon Kalulu, Arthur Masuaku, and Joris Kayembe, have expressed profound indignation in response to the recent atrocities unfolding in the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The latest incident involves the horrifying bombing of Nengapeta School in the Mugunga district of Goma, North Kivu Province. 

Suspected M23-RDF rebels allegedly dropped the bomb from Kagano Hill on Saturday, amidst ongoing confrontations with the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) in the region.

The attack resulted in two individuals, a man, and his daughter, sustaining serious injuries. Both victims are currently receiving medical attention, and fortunately, no fatalities were reported.

Expressing his heartfelt concern, DRC Captain Chancel Mbemba conveyed thus; “A heartfelt thought for all the victims of the atrocities in Goma and their families. I pray with all my heart that my country regains its peace.” Said Mbemba.

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Cédric Bakambu, a forward known for using his platform to address critical issues, denounced the silence surrounding the massacres in the East of the DRC through social media. 

The former Sochaux and Marseille player aims to leverage the success of the national football team to raise awareness about the enduring conflict that has plagued the region since the Congo War in 1996.

“Everyone sees the massacres in the East of Congo. But everyone remains silent. Channel the same energy you use to talk about the Africa Cup of Nations to highlight what is happening in our country; there are no small gestures.” He said.

Despite the recent joyous sports achievements, Bakambu emphasizes the darker reality persisting in the DRC and underscores the urgency to address the ongoing conflict, which has claimed an estimated nearly 6 million lives between 1997 and 2008 in the East.

Calling on people to redirect their energy towards shedding light on the situation, Bakambu highlights the significance of even small gestures. His distinctive goal celebrations, a poignant reminder of these pressing issues, are linked to his commitment to raising awareness about violent conflicts.

“Peace for the DRC With my foundation, I am trying modestly to be useful on-site, but it will never be enough. Pray, share, act for our brothers and sisters.” The statement concluded.

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This united front of football stars adds a powerful voice to the call for attention to the atrocities in the DRC, emphasizing the need for collective action to address the ongoing crisis.



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