Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - "Ethnic clashes are being fueled to force the inhabitants to flee and free spaces in order to exploit the riches of the territory with impunity", denounce the Bishops of the Episcopal Provincial Assembly of Kisangani in the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, at the end of their Plenary Assembly.
"Ethnically targeted large-scale violence is occurring in Ituri, with killings, house set on fire, looting and the people are fleeing in mass. This violence covers the hidden will to put the different ethnic groups against each other and seem destined to empty these areas from their inhabitants for unknown interests", says the statement published at the end of the Assembly.
"Groups of foreign armed migrants, such as Mbororo in Haut-Uélé and Bas-Uélé, the so-called "Banyabwisha" in Ituri, move with large herds in search of arable land or pastures. These migrants stop and their presence becomes a permanent threat to the local population", said the statement, sent to Agenzia Fides. To these are added "local armed groups (Mayi-Mayi, Simba, FRPI, etc.), foreign groups(LRA) and others who are unidentified and spread desolation among the population through theft, rape, looting and murder".
"We observe the massive presence of refugees from the Central African Republic and South Sudan in Haut-Uélé, Bas-Uélé and Ituri, who exceed the number of local families. We deplore armed banditism and the increase of insecurity in the urban areas and in the areas of mining exploitation", the Bishops continue.
"In the face of all these concerns, the Church has not remained indifferent and passive", underlines the message that states that the Bishops have turned to local, provincial and national political-administrative authorities in order to find lasting solutions, and have appealed to the population so that they avoid falling into the spiral of violence.
"We greet the attitude of many Christians and people of good will who resist manipulation and help the members of the various groups threatened to avoid violence. We encourage families and Christian communities to continue to express their solidarity towards the displaced and refugees: "... I was a foreigner and you welcomed me".
The Bishops ask the Congolese authorities to clarify the status of migrants and to restore order and security; to the international community to the governments of foreign Countries directly affected by migratory movements to work with the Congolese state to respect the rights of local populations. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 7/3/2018)