Kinshasa (Fides Service) – Rumours of imminent new outbreaks of violence continue to spread in south and north Kivu, region in Democratic Congo bordering on Rwanda and Burundi. Local Church sources contacted by Fides Service say “there is growing fear of an imminent attack by rebels backed by other countries. Eyewitnesses speak of movement of troops in various places in the region. People living in neighbouring regions say fighting could resume as early as next week.”
The situation is so serious that vicar general of Bukavu diocese Mgr Xavier Maroy Rusengo, has issued a statement denouncing “forced recruitment of youth equipped with arms, ammunition and telephones…what is the objective? (see Fides 22 September 2003).
“At present things are calm” say Fides local sources “as long as on the streets we see European and American staff belonging to the United Nations Agencies and various NGOs present in the area. If they were to leave it would be a clear sign that something is about to happen”.
Here is a list of the main armed groups operating in south and north Kivu: Rassemblement Congolais pour la Démocratie (RCD), l'Armée Patriotique Rwandaises (APR), the Burundian Army, Forces pour la Défense de la Démocratie (FDD) e le Forces Nationales de Libération (FNL), Interahamwe and men of Rwanda’s former Hutu army, FAR (Forces Armées Rwandaises).
In the same area there are UN troops, part of MONUC (United Nations Mission in Congo). “UN troops have deployed in the main centres, Goma, Kindu and Bukavu and so far their presence has guaranteed a minimum of tranquillity. But we cannot say what would happen if the rebels were to launch a massive attack?” concerned missionaries affirm. (L.M.) (Fides Service 26/9/2003 lines 30 words 332)