AFRICA/DR CONGO - The Bishops of the ecclesiastical province of Bukavu: "The solution is not armed gangs but evangelical non-violence"

Tuesday, 6 June 2017 armed groups   politics   bishops  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - "Armed gangs are not a stable political solution. Created to endure an unacceptable political order, end up generating an ordeal imposed on their brothers and sisters", write the Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Bukavu (Bukavu town is the capital of South Kivu in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo) in a message at the end of their Assembly.
The Bishops complain about the proliferation of armed militias, which "stifle everywhere" and that "with their identity claims, arouse the emergence of tribal conflicts". In particular one sees the "adverse consequences of the Kamuina Nsapu phenomenon, which begin to contaminate neighboring provinces, up to Maniema, with the exclusion of the other and discrimination".
For months, militiamen faithful to Kamuina Nsapu, a traditional leader killed by the police in August, sowed terror in the province of Central Kasai and neighboring areas (see Fides 1/4/2017). The administrative province of Maniema falls within the Ecclesiastical Province of Bukavu.
The various militias, besides destroying social, health and school structures, have also carried out ecclesiastical assaults. The Bishops also recall Clara Agano of the Franciscan Sisters of Christ the King, who was killed on November 29, 2016 at the Mater Dei Parish of Bukavu (see Fides 2/12/2016), and several priests and missionaries kidnapped last year. The population can not move freely from one area to another due to the presence of street bandits.
All this comes, according to the Bishops, because of the lack of State authority". Political impasse resulting from the failure to implement the San Silvestro Agreements (see Fides 24/4/2017) makes the Country even more fragile, "exposed to all winds".
Faced with the "failure of the political class", the Bishops ask the Congolese "to take the matter in their hands in a peaceful and democratic way, with evangelical non-violence". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 6/6/2017)