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Congo: Monastery again attacked; archdiocese appeals to nation’s president for protection

Catholic World News - December 16, 2009

Following a wave of recent attacks on Catholic institutions, the clergy and religious of the eastern Congolese Archdiocese of Bukavu have appealed to President Joseph Kabila for protection.

“The population of South Kivu is in shock from the targeting of the Catholic Church, whose social role and involvement in the democratization of our country you know,” the clergy and religious write. “Are Church personnel (priests, religious men and women) seen as witnesses of all the massive human rights violations perpetrated in South Kivu for almost 14 years?”

On December 13, the Monastery of Our Lady of Light in Muresa suffered another attack by armed men. “The long and painful series of massacres, rapes, burning of villages, kidnappings, robberies, looting ... being inflicted on the civilian population of Kivu is now known to all and does nothing but increase,” a Xaverian missionary network comments. “As you can see, we are probably not just talking about isolated cases of banditry and one has to wonder if this is not part of a prearranged plan to target and disrupt the vital forces of society, beginning with the Church, to carry out unmentionable crimes. And even if it were only savage acts of banditry, we should ask who they are benefiting, if justice does not know or does not want to know who is responsible.”

The mineral-rich Bukavu region has suffered greatly in the conflicts that have claimed 5.4 million lives in the central African nation.

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