AFRICA/DR CONGO - Islamic State in the east of the DRC; the concern of local bishops

Tuesday, 18 June 2019 armed groups   bishops   violence  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - There is also the mysterious Islamic State in the Province of Central Africa among the armed groups that rage in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, whose violent actions are at the center of the concerns of the Bishops of South Kivu. In the concluding statement of the Ordinary Assembly of the Provincial Episcopal Assembly of Bukavu (ASSEPB), the persistence and proliferation of armed groups and criminal gangs that perpetrate massacres, attacks, kidnappings and looting, causing great displacement of populations, is denounced.
"These situations show the decline of the State" they highlight in the message. The populations most affected are those of Beni and Butembo, where several massacres are attributed to the ADF-NALU, a group of Ugandan origin. This group, or one of its members, have apparently given birth to the even more mysterious Islamic State in the Province of Central Africa which, recently, has begun to claim its attacks through its official website.
Other violence is committed by militias and armed groups present in the areas of Uvira, Fizi and Mwenga, for the possession of land or for issues of leadership of traditional local leaders, with the consequent accentuation of tribalism and ethnic divisions.
The lack of security and of the State further weakens an already disorganized economy exposed to the ravages of internal and external exploitation: minerals are looted, local agriculture is abandoned in favor of subsidized foreign products, local entrepreneurship is almost non-existent, tax collection is left in the hands of state agents who often take advantage of it to their advantage.
The Bishops ask the central authorities to "regain the management of the sovereign mission of the State: that of ensuring unity, territorial integrity, security of persons and property and promotion of the well-being of the population"; "to guarantee the protection of natural resources. Before proceeding with any agreement with third parties, national interests and respect for the environment must be assured and guaranteed"; "to encourage the creation of jobs for the local populations", "to accentuate the fight against the corruption of the elites, through an adequate salary policy of state employees", "to complete the electoral cycle". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 18/6/2019)