AFRICA/DEMOCRATIC CONGO - The Bishop of Bukavu fears new outbreak of war in east Congo

Thursday, 31 May 2007

Bukavu (Fides Service)- “A psychosis of war pervades our villages”. This alarm was launched by the Catholic Archbishop of Bukavu in the east of Democratic Congo, Archbishop François-Xavier Maroy Rusengo, in a letter to the French Ambassador in Kinshasa, Bernard Prevost.
In the letter, a copy of which was sent to Fides, the Archbishop says all the elements for a new outbreak are present: military infiltration from across the border; the area is controlled by a military command of former RCD rebels; a media campaign to provoke ethnic hatred; re-organisation of the army which, as it is, is unable to defend the nation. Most frightening of all the massacre of at least 18 people at Kaniola, during the night of 26 May.
The slaughter has been attributed to a group of former Rwandan Hutu militia which has been in this area since it sought refuge here in 1994. The group is one of the “negative forces” which destabilise the Great Lakes Region. After having exploited these groups for years, the countries in the region decided to open a central information office to monitor the movement of these militia, see Fides 28 May 2007. However one group of stragglers is not enough to start a large scale war in Kivu. If there is the will, there is a way to keep the peace in the Great Lakes Region.(L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 31/5/2007 righe 21 parole 247)