Robert Njangala, Bukavu

We collaborate with the police to track down criminals in Essence district in Bukavu.

Robert, committed

With a firm and clear voice, a determined speach, Robert Njangal is not a dreamer. Only 29 years old, he is already accustomed to the violence and mistrust that appears in a state where criminality is omnipresent. The programme he leads, called Force Vives (Sharp Forces), is not your average type of organisation. Fed up and concerned of seeing those he calls "bandits" take residence in the popular quarter of Essence in Bukavu, he launched this programme, offering a more secure future for his community.
All the criminals of Bukavu spend their days and nights in the Essence quarter. They come even to plan their crimes and their operational strategies (...) That's why we created the Force Vives programme, to fight this criminality.

The child from Essence

Essence for Robert, is more than a district. He has lived there his whole life, still does, and wishes to stay there. It is an area that he knows very well, but where the crime rate has become unbearable for him. It's with a pragmatic and realistic voice that he presents his quarter.
Essence is a popular quarter where there are a lot of people but also a lot of criminals.
Child of the area, Robert could not stand it anymore to see the image of Essence spoiled by the criminal activities that, in the end, create mistrust between all the inhabitants. He regrets that the people of Essence are regarded as criminals, "bandits". But it is particularly because of the impunity that he decided to take action.
When they see the police, they attack and throw rocks at the police (...) Being from Essence, we told ourselves we didn't want to live in a district where anarchy was the rule.

A collaboration full of meaning

That's when the idea of Forces Vives was born. The principle? Gather the public forces to offer a more efficient fight against criminality to the inhabitants of the district.
"We had to collaborate closely with the police to fight the the feeling of unsafety in Essence".
With other people from the district, he organised a collaboration with the police of Bukavu. And he is very proud how efficient and effective it is: "if the police receive a complaint, they bring us a search notice (...) we invest ourselves to look for the criminal". Their advantage compared to publics forces is that the criminals "are people that we know well, that we know how to handle (...) we look for the criminal and we give him to the police or we call the police to come pick the criminal up at our office".

Working for a more peaceful future... that already has an effect

There is one memory that Robert likes to share, it's the one of the journalist Didace Namujombo from the commonly known radio Okapi, murdered in 2008 on his doorstep in Bukavu. The suspect of this murder fled to Essence. That is when Forces Vives decided to act.
We managed to catch him and we transfered him to the police.
Proud of his district and of his battle, determined and efficient, Robert Njangala finds himself dreaming of the future.
Our expectations for the future, what we want, is that the city of Bukavu becomes a haven of peace.
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