AFRICA/DR CONGO - The Archbishop of Bukavu denounces "A wind of war and insecurity is blowing again in eastern DRC"

Tuesday, 28 June 2022 violence   armed groups   bishops   un  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - "The situation is serious. A wind of war and insecurity is blowing again in this eastern part of our country", writes His Excellency Msgr. François-Xavier Maroy Rusengo, Archbishop of Bukavu, capital of South Kivu , one of the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where militias and armed gangs have been harassing the population with impunity for decades.
"We place particular emphasis on the very critical situation following the recent occupation of the town of Bunagana in Rutshuru territory by the armed group M23, which resumed fighting in an infernal cycle of violence, loss of human life , displacement of populations and destruction of our economic and social fabric. This is history repeating itself", denounces Archbishop Rusengo, in his statement sent to Agenzia Fides. The M23 is a guerrilla movement that signed a peace agreement with the Kinshasa government in 2013 (see Fides, 13/12/2013) but has recently taken up arms again. Congolese authorities accuse neighboring Rwanda of supporting M23; accusations made by Kigali against Kinshasa accused in turn of favors against the Rwandan armed opposition based in the DRC.
"Curiously, the external support is always the same, with the same pattern and the same objectives: to remove this part of the country from the control of our central government and perhaps annex it to neighboring countries", says Msgr. Rusengo. The Archbishop of Bukavu encourages the faithful not to give in to a fatalistic mentality: "A fatalistic and partial vision of the Gospel leads some to see in everything that happens a will of God, even a punishment; others to think that God will do everything for us. This is not the case". Bishop Rusengo stresses that "the Catholic Church feels within her and shares the cry of the Congolese people, and wants with all her might to stop the bloodshed of so many innocent people".
"The Congolese people are exasperated by the ambiguity of the international community towards them: serious violations have been committed against the Congolese, documented by the Mapping Report (which dates back to 2011 see Fides, 7/5/2011) but almost nothing is done to sanction them and compensate the victims", says Msgr. Rusengo in denouncing the inertia of the international community which, for more than 25 years, has set up the peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO) "the most expensive of our time, an average of one billion dollars per year ", but with mediocre results.
Archbishop Rusengo calls on the Congolese state to "review its relations with the international community, which treats our country as a second-class state whose security and development count for little", and to create a real army and not an amalgam of poorly integrated former rebels. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 28/6/2022)