Church must reach out to the violent in Congo

Brutal violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo must stop, and the Church can help by reaching out to those committing the violence, according to religious congregations working in the conflict-torn country.

The congregations based in the Diocese of Butembo-Beni say in a joint statement that armed men in the northeastern area of Beni have kidnapped and butchered hundreds of innocent children and adults in nocturnal raids.

Describing the killings as “heinous, inhuman and senseless” they reported that “victims were killed brutally with machetes, knives or axes” with women – including pregnant ones – being “raped and disembowelled”.

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced by the wave of violence which began in October, with the deplacement having led in turn to food shortages, interrupted schooling and health care services, and the upheaval or destruction of families.

The past decade has seen renewed fighting in the eastern part of the country as various factions fight over strategically and economically valuable areas. 

Condemning how only “the greedy and the armed have access” to the country’s mineral wealth, the statement said that “this genocide among brothers must come to an end”.