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Africa

2009-12-15

AFRICA/CONGO DR - Further attacks on Monastery in Bukavu, where a sister was killed on December 7; today, Peace March and Masses in parishes

Bukavu (Agenzia Fides) – The Church in Bukavu, capital of South Kivu in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, is once more suffering violence. According to a statement received by Fides, on the night of Sunday, December 13, the Monastery of Our Lady of Light in Muresa was again attacked by armed men. The attackers were chased away by police guarding the area after the attack suffered by the same monastery on December 7, when Sister Denise Kahambo Murahirwa was killed (see Fides 9/12/2009).
Faced with the grave situation of insecurity in South Kivu, President Joseph Kabila and the Ministers of the Republic have spent the weekend in Bukavu, where the Council of Ministers was held on Saturday, December 12th. Today, December 15, Christians in Bukavu will hold a Peace March, followed by the celebration of a Mass in the parishes of the Archdiocese of Bukavu and in the neighboring Diocese of Uvira. Also, from December 15 to 31, the population of Bukavu was invited to ring a bell, a whistle or horn at 12 every day, calling for the return of peace.
"The long and painful series of massacres, rapes, burning of villages, kidnappings, robberies, looting ... being inflicted on the civilian population of Kivu is now known to all and does nothing but increase," says the network "Peace for the Congo," run by the Xaverian missionaries. "As you can see, we are probably not just talking about isolated cases of banditry and one has to wonder if this is not part of a prearranged plan to target and disrupt the vital forces of society, beginning with the Church, to carry out unmentionable crimes. And even if it were only savage acts of banditry, we should ask who they they are benefiting, if justice does not know or does not want to know who is responsible,” the missionaries say.
Even in North Kivu the situation remains one of great insecurity, as the diocesan and religious priests in the Diocese of Butembo-Beni (North Kivu) noted on November 4, when they met to analyze the socio-political situation. In their final message, they denounced the growing insecurity in both rural and urban areas. "Everything suggests the existence of a deliberate attempt to sow panic and desolation, so that people will leave the land and live in refugee camps. One is tempted to believe that what is happening in the provinces of North and South Kivu is not an accidental effect of chance, but the realization of a precise plan. In the face of it, one is caught in the grip of a dilemma. Advising the population to abandon their inland villages and gather in the larger cities for better security would mean giving the invaders free reign. On the other hand, the people have already made his choice: 'We prefer to stay at home'. In this case, we must expect massacres. This situation thus described affects all Congolese citizens, called to stand up to build a country where truth, justice, reconciliation and peace reign," the report concluded. (LM) (Agenzia Fides 15/12/2009)

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