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U.S. DRC Embassy Sounds Goma Warning

FILE: A picture taken on August 1, 2019 shows a general view of ships linking Goma and Bukavu on Lake Kivu, moored at the port in Goma, eastern DR Congo.

The U.S. Embassy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has warned of a possible terrorist attack on civilians in Goma, possibly on a boat leaving the city. Reporter Zanem Nety Zaidi, has reaction from Congolese citizens living there.

The warning by the U.S. embassy to its citizens, telling them to take precautions, has alarmed many Goma residents.

Justin Bendera is a motorcycle cab driver. And he says he's worried.

Bendera told VOA the security situation remains volatile. He thinks that if the enemy decided to attack Goma today, no one would be able to escape. According to him, the city is not secure, so it is difficult to monitor the enemy.

The U.S. Embassy alert indicated that the attack could occur on a boat on the waters of Lake Kivu. Since then, no exceptional measures have been observed at the public port of Goma, laments boat captain François Mugisho.

He says that all activities are continuing at the port as usual. Business and shipping on the lake are continuing normally despite the embassy's warning. He also says he has yet to see any police deployment, let alone the implementation of a checkpoint for people.

The national police commander in Goma has reassured residents that all units are on alert and the province is under a state of siege -- including military rule and nighttime curfews.

Civil society is asking residents to remain calm and for the security services to work harder.

Local civil society leader Marion Ngavo is calling on the entire population to remain calm and not to panic, not to touch any device they find; he is also asking the urban and provincial authorities to reinforce security in public places by organizing, for example, controls with metal detectors.