The Fact News Service,
Congo’s Mount Nyiragongo erupted for the first time in nearly two decades Saturday, turning the night sky a fiery red and sending lava onto a major highway as panicked residents tried to flee Goma, a city of nearly 2 million. There was no immediate word on any casualties, but witnesses said that lava already had engulfed one highway that connects Goma with the city of Beni in North Kivu province.
Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi said he would be returning home on Sunday from Europe earlier than planned in order to help coordinate relief efforts. The government said an evacuation plan was being activated, but the official announcement came several hours after the sky turned a fiery red, and many already had fled on foot in hopes of crossing the Rwandan border post just outside town. Car horns honked and motorcycle taxis weaved as people attempted to escape in a panic.
Rwandan immigration authorities reported that some 3,000 people already had officially crossed over from Congo to escape the volcano’s eruption. The U.N. peacekeeping mission known as MONUSCO tweeted dramatic footage of the city alit, saying it was conducting reconnaissance flights over Goma where it maintains a large base. “The lava doesn’t seem to be headed toward the city of Goma. We remain on alert,” it said.