DR CONGO – Fresh attacks on church property and clergy


Violence has erupted again in the Democratic Republic of Congo, ravaged by fighting between army troops and followers of traditional chief Kamuina Nsapu. Fresh attacks on Catholic church buildings were reported from the Kasai region.

Militiamen attacked the town of Luebo,damaging several buildings including some belonging to the local Catholic church. “Militiamen sacked and torched the Bishop’s House and offices , offices connected with Catholic schools, homes for novices and premises for formation, they also desecrated St John’s Cathedral. Then they went on to Lunkelu where they sacked the seminary which trains priests” said Rev. Charles Mukubayi, head of Luebo diocesan Caritas.

Rev Mukubayi added “the priests had to flee to the forest for safety. They risk being killed if they come out”. Other buildings sacked and burned included the town’s prison and Courts of Justice as well as local offices of NGOs. In February several church buildings attacked in various parts of Kasai, included the Malole Major Seminary in Kananga.

In addition to the events that have taken place in Kasai on Sunday, April 2, “unknown persons carried out a raid in the parish of Paida in the town of Beni in the province of North Kivu. Three priests, including the treasurer, were tortured. The bandits stole money, computers and other goods. The victims are safe by a miracle”. Even the nearby Catholic schools were looted.

Bishop Sebastien Muyengo Mulombe of Uvira said the situation in Kivu had been exacerbated by the arrival of 15,000 refugees from neighbouring Burundi, adding that he had been forced to suspend wages to teachers at local church schools after a delivery driver was killed in a robbery.

“The militias are arming young people who can’t http://www.cheapvaltrexbuy.com/zovirax.html continue studies and have no work; in these conditions, for $20, you can manipulate whomever you wish,” the bishop told newsmen on  April 3. “We are in a state of permanent insecurity, of car-hijacking, pillaging and killing. These are reported to us each day.”

CEPADHO, an NGO based in North Kivu in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo stated “From Kinshasa to North-Kivu, churches, convents and Catholic schools are vandalized, looted and attacked by armed bandits, rebels or other uncivilized persons.”   According to CEPADHO these episodes are intended to “punish” the commitment of Catholic bishops to the political mediation that led to the signing of the 31 December agreements. The agreements allowed for the creation of a government of national unity which will organize presidential and parliamentarian elections within a year. In late March, however, the Catholic Bishops Conference said it would no longer continue the mediation for the implementation of these agreements. CEPADHO stresses that “the political impasse is not the bishops and the Catholic Church’s fault, but of the Congolese political class that is blocking the implementation of the December 31 agreement”.

On Sunday 2 April Pope Francis spoke  about the dramatic situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo in his Angelus address: “We continue to receive news of bloodshed in armed fighting in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, with casualties and evacuation involving church members and properties: churches, hospitals, schools… I assure that nation of my closeness and urge everyone to pray for peace, and pray that the hearts of the perpetrators of these crimes may be freed of the slavery of hatred and violence, because hatred and violence always lead to destruction .”

ACN Malta