AFRICA/DR CONGO - Bishops of Kivu suspend ecclesial activities for a day to protest civilian massacres

Tuesday, 3 December 2019 massacres   bishops  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - A day of "mourning and prayer" and a strike of all ecclesial and social services, including Catholic schools and universities, was held yesterday, Monday, December 2, as a sign of "communion and solidarity" with the victims of violence in the territories of Beni and Lubero (North Kivu) and in the territories of Fizi, Uvira, Mwenga and Kalehe in South Kivu. The day had been proclaimed by the Bishops of the North and South Kivu, in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, at the end of their Extraordinary Assembly held from 24 to 30 November in Bukavu, to protest against the violence committed by the various armed groups present in the two provinces and to urge the authorities to guarantee the safety of local populations.
"We deplore the persistence of insecurity that causes untold suffering to our people; we express all our compassion for the victims of this inhuman violence; we ask the Christian faithful to carry out concrete actions of solidarity and fraternal communion in non-violence", says a declaration signed by the President of the Provincial Episcopal Assembly of Bukavu, His Exc. Mgr. François-Xavier Maroy Rusengo, Archbishop of Bukavu. "With regard to our Provincial Episcopal Assembly, we have decreed in our six dioceses December 2, 2019, a day of mourning, prayer and communion with our brothers and sisters; our ecclesial and social services will be suspended, excluding medical services, but including schools, seminars, colleges and universities dependent on the Catholic Church in our six dioceses".
Yesterday there was a new spontaneous protest demonstration by the population of Beni, the twelfth, where the retaliatory actions of the ADF militants have already caused more than 123 civilian deaths, according to CEPADHO, a local NGO. This time the population of Beni decided to walk barefoot as a form of peaceful protest.
According to a report by CEPADHO sent to Fides, the latest massacre dates back to October 29 when at least 13 people were killed with machetes in the village of Kukutama in the Territory of Beni. On the night of October 29, an armed group also assaulted the health center in Mambabeka which is tackling the Ebola epidemic that has been affecting the region for months. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 3/12/2019)