Congolese refugees, the Mwanmba family: (L-R) Didier, Leonardo, Bambi Byumbay Florence, 35, Marie Clementine, Didier Mwamba, Jean Kevin, and Eddy Joyeux, pictured at their home in Bujumbura, Burundi.
Words of Bambi Byumbay Florence
In 1996 there had been many rumours saying that people were coming from the outside to attack Congo. I remember it was raining, there were rumours that at the 7 in the evening we were told people would come form Mariba. Then a few minutes later we heard the attack and these people came. I remember we were in a house with 2 rooms and the toilets were outside. We had to go outside to hide, as it was very dark we saw people going inside the house, they searched but didn't find anything. They started a fire in my sisters room, when they did this my husband wanted to go out thinking that my sister was in that room because at that time she was only 10, he left the toilets to go inside the house, they got him then they asked him "where were you?" he said, "I was only in the toilets", then they said "we will close our eyes and then we don't want to see you again". So my husband left.
When the house was on fire everything got burned, I stayed in the toilets, I spend the night there. Inside the house everything had been burned, even my diploma. We couldn't say who they were but I remember I was told that they were coming from Rwanda and Uganda, I remember we called them black people because they were really really dark. At around 10am young people came with the head of someone on a branch so we were obliged to flee, with this head we were really traumatised. Everywhere we passed there were dead bodies, when we crossed Uvira we headed to Mykibola Kigongo, everyone was heading there and everywhere there were dead bodies. Then we came to a checkpoint, here they would just look in your face and tell you to step aside, or for another person they could say "ok continue" and then for another one they could keep him and they could just decide on that ba