Eric - “There’s real panic in town”

As government forces and UN peacekeepers strive to stop rebel troops moving into the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo town of Goma, one resident Eric, 28, who sells motorbikes for a living, told IRIN he was torn between fleeing and protecting his business.

“There’s real panic in town, the panic is there. Everyone in Goma is running to their houses. I saw the government troops retreating into town. It’s been very tense today, yesterday and the day before.

“There is more evidence that the enemy [forces from neighbouring Rwanda, which is accused of supporting rebel general Laurent Nkunda, a charge Kigali denies] are Rwanda are coming into DRC go that’s why I am fleeing now.

“I think that Nkunda is near. I think the population, everybody, is really scared at the moment. People are running all over the place in every direction. At the moment we don’t really know what’s going on but it is better to go away than stay.

“I am also very worried about my business here but because there is a feeling there might be looting tonight. All my colleagues have already left and are telling me to go too. My family are very scared. My wife called me today telling me to cross the border to Rwanda to be where I can be safe. I am really hoping that Goma can stay safe.”

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