After cease-fire, Congo’s bishops say much work remains before peace

GOMA, Congo (CNS) — The Catholic Church rejoiced at the end of a yearlong military campaign in North Kivu by the defeated rebels of the M23 movement, but made it clear that much remains to be done to consolidate that peace.

In Nov. 9 tour around areas held only days before by the rebels, Bishop Theophile Kaboyi Ruboneka of Goma called on citizens to work hard to consolidate a peace that was “acquired at the price of blood,” referring especially to the last offensive, which ended Nov. 5. “We are thankful to God that this nightmare has ended,” Bishop Kaboyi told the U.N.-run Radio Okapi. “Now, as we are condemned to live together, we must be reconciled.”

Congolese Catholic officials have made it clear that, despite an end to hostilities in North Kivu, their country has not seen the end of its trials. Bishop Fridolin Ambongo Besungu of the Bokungu-Ikela, president of the bishops’ justice and peace commission, announced Nov. 5 that the church would join an international ecumenical campaign for peace in the Great Lakes region. The campaign will be launched Dec. 1.