Congo: Bishops appeal for peace, end to pillaging of natural resources

Independent Catholic News

In a message released yesterday in Kinshasa, titled: “More innocent blood in Congo!”, the National Conference of Bishops of the Democratic Republic of Congo (CENCO) has expressed “concern that these recurring wars in the east and north-east regions become a smoke-shield to cover-up the pillaging of natural resources.

They said: “A humanitarian tragedy is unfolding before our eyes and no one can remain indifferent. We ask: why this resumption of hostilities when such significant progress was achieved with the signing of the Goma Acts of Engagement? How long will our land be stained with the blood of our sons and daughters?”

The bishops also voiced concern that these wars are a barely veiled way to realize a balkanization plan by the creation of dwarf states.

They said: “territorial integrity, the inviolability of borders and national unity of DR-Congo are not negotiable”.

Addressing the new Prime Minister, the Bishops urge him along with his future government to “consider a priority above all others the urgent goal to totally restore peace in the country and safeguard its unity by creating a Republican army and protecting its borders and population.

“The population will judge its leaders on their capacity to give a pertinent and definitive response to these great challenges”. they said.

The Bishops thanked the international community for “its almost unanimous condemnation of the rebellions” and urged “effective and efficient measures to obligate the armed groups to respect commitments they have undersigned. This will dissuade any foolish ambitions against the integrity of our national territory. All powers, multinationals, the Great Lakes, all will benefit from a Congo at peace rather than a Congo at war”.

CENCO concludes by reaffirming its commitment in the promotion of peace, but also its certainty that “there is no peace without justice. Impunity encourages new insurrectional ambitions. Peace is in fact not simply the absence of war, nor a balance of stability between rivals, but is founded on a correct conception of the human being and requires the building of social order based on justice and charity”.