On 20 December 2021, police officers deployed tear gas and used live ammunition to disperse demonstrators in Goma — the capital of North Kivu province – who were protesting the alleged deployment of Rwandan security personnel to the province. Demonstrators were also protesting an increase in crime in the region and demanding that the official state of siege — in effect since May 2021 in North Kivu and Ituri provinces — be reassessed. Protesters constructed barricades, blocked roads and engaged in clashes with police officers. Reports indicate that banks, the city’s central market, schools and shops in Goma were closed. At least two people were killed in the violence, including one police officer, and 10 others were injured. In a statement regarding the unrest in Goma, the commissioner general of the Congolese national police stated that no Rwandan security personnel are being deployed in Goma.

Analyst Comment: Rwandan and Congolese police officials signed a memorandum of understanding in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, the prior week regarding increased cross-border cooperation in order to jointly combat various forms of illicit trafficking. Afterward, a rumor spread via social media platforms that Rwandan security personnel are being stationed in Goma, prompting the demonstration.