AFRICA/CONGO DR - “Mr. President...guarantee security for the Church and inhabitants of Bukavu,” clergy and religious from the Archdiocese of Bukavu tell President Kabila

Bukavu (Agenzia Fides) - "We appeal to you to ask you to ensure our safety and that of the people we minister to" is how the priests and religious men and women of the Archdiocese of Bukavu have addressed the President of Democratic Republic of the Congo, Joseph Kabila, in a message delivered to the Head of State during his visit to the capital of South Kivu (eastern DRC).
In the letter, a copy of which was sent to Fides, they list the recent violence in which victims were priests and religious working in the territory of the Archdiocese. October 3, 2009 at 8pm: attack and looting of the parish house at Ciherano with the abduction of a priest and a seminarian. Their release occurred the next day, upon payment of a ransom of $5,000. On October 5, 2009: attack and looting of the school of Nyangezi, run by the Marist Brothers. December 6, 2009: at 2 in the morning, attack on the parish house of Kabare and murder of Fr. Daniel Cizimaya. On December 7, 2009, at 7:30: assault on the Monastery in Murhesa with the murder of Sister Denise Kahambu.
"The population of South Kivu is in shock from the targeting of the Catholic Church, whose social role and involvement in the democratization of our country you know," says the message. "Therefore, are church personnel (priests, religious men and women) seen as..witnesses of all the massive human rights violations perpetrated in South Kivu for almost 14 years?"
The signatories of the letter also denounced the lack of resources for local police ( "there are not even 5 gallons of fuel to be given to emergency police units, to help the population at risk, as in the case of Sister Denise who waited in vain to be rescued in Murhesa") and they ask that military police units be sent in to stop acts of banditry committed by some military forces.
"Our church does not cease to raise her voice to implore God for His blessing on our leaders and their administrators, so that the time of the celebration of our Golden Jubilee will allow us to really start a new era of peace, justice, and work for the reconstruction and prosperity of our country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo," concludes the message. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 15/12/2009)

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