Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - "Why are you killing me?" are the last words of Fr. Vincent Machozi, Assumptionist priest killed in the night of Sunday, March 20 in the village of Vitungwe-Isale, 15 km from Butembo in the Territory of Beni (North Kivu Province in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo). As reported in "la Croix" by Fr. Emmanuel Kahindo, Vicar General of the Congregation of the Assumptionists (Augustinians of the Assumption), who is of Congolese nationality "some soldiers arrived around midnight, knocked down the doors and killed him on the spot".
The testimonies gathered by Fr. Kahindo and benilubero.com site agree that the killers are soldiers of the Congolese armed forces (FARDC). In particular benilubero.com reports that "a dozen uniformed soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo, heavily armed, who were traveling in the jeep, stormed the perimeter of the center Mon Beau Village, where traditional Nande leaders had gathered to take part in a reflection on peace convened by Mwami Abdul Kalemire III" head of Basho community, on a mission in the area and host of the same convent.
The soldiers immediately said that they wanted to hit the head Kalemire and Fr. Vincent. Despite the attempt of the onlookers to hide the presence of the two people targeted, the military discovered Fr. Vincent who was outside in the courtyard, and was working on his laptop. The soldiers opened fire and Fr. Vincent shouted: "Why are you killing me?". Kalemire III was saved only because he had just left Fr. Vincent in order to take a rest.
Fr. Vincent had already been threatened with death, so much so that in 2003 he was forced to exile in the United States. This had not prevented him from becoming Chief Editor of benilubero.com. After his return to the DRC he had escaped seven bombings.
Fr. Vincent had repeatedly denounced the suffering of the Nande population caused by the presence of different armed groups dedicated to the illegal exploitation of coltan (mineral used in the manufacture of electronic components for mobile phones) in the Territory of Beni, often with the connivance of the regular army.
The priest was born in 1965. At 17 he entered the Congregation of the Assumptionists. After completing his studies in France he was ordained a priest in Angers in 1994. He taught at the seminary in Kinshasa and earned a doctorate at Boston University in conflict resolution.
Also on Sunday 20 March, a priest of the Order of the Clerics Regular Minor (Adorno Fathers) was seriously injured in a road ambush in Katwiguru, 30 km from Rutshuru (North Kivu see Fides 21/03/2016). (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 22/03/2016)