AFRICA/DR CONGO - Visit of Cardinal Ambongo among the populations of the east, victims of massacres

Friday, 3 January 2020 wars   massacres  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - At least twenty dead is the toll of the massacres carried out in the Territory of Beni, in North Kivu in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, at the end of December, during the visit to the diocese of Butembo-Beni, by Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo Besungu Metropolitan Archbishop of Kinshasa.
The Cardinal went to the region on December 27, to encourage the population exhausted by the constant attacks attributed to an armed group of Ugandan origin, the ADF, which has been in this area of the DRC for twenty years.
In his public speech in May-Moya, Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo Besungu urged the inhabitants to collaborate with the army, the police and the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) to stop the massacres and reiterated that the Church will continue to pray to the Lord to end this tragedy.
During the Cardinal's visit, unfortunately several villages in the area were attacked. The most serious episode occured of Sunday 29 December, when guerrillas attacked the village of Apetina-Sana during the night, killing at least 18 people, including 2 women. According to a local NGO (CEPADHO) with this latest massacre, 242 civilians have been killed in the Territory of Beni since 30 October.
Although attributed to the ADF, these massacres are part of a depopulation plan of the area that sees the complicity of unsuspected actors. This is what a note of 19 December entitled "Alert: imminent risk of a Balkanization of Eastern DR Congo", of the Diocesan Commission of Justice and Peace (CDJP) of Butembo - Beni said. The Commission denounces the existence of a mafia project aimed at developing strategies to sell the east of the Country to populations that are not from the place.
Regarding the situation of Beni, the Justice and Peace Commission believes that the waves of migrations of populations from the small North towards the great North of the province, under the pretext of looking for arable land, often coincide with the increase in massacres and therefore there appears to be a precise program of occupation of native lands by a group who are not from the place. The Commission denounces the internal complications of the Congolese army and the political class and the external complications of the neighboring Countries of the DRC. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 3/1/2020)