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  • St. John of the Cross

Solidarity with the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Message of solidarity of the general councils to the peoples of the dioceses of Butembo-Beni, Goma and Bunia.

May 2015 | ODN

Dear bishops of Butembo-Beni, Goma and Bunia,
Dear brother and sister religious,
Dear lay faithful of Butembo-Beni, Goma and Bunia,

1. Introduction
We, the members of the general councils of various orders and congregations present in the Diocese of Butembo-Beni, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, have been informed of the recent unrest and massacres in the region of the dioceses of Butembo-Beni and in its proximities. We were shocked to learn of the dreadful slaughter of unarmed civilians, even as the people of this region are still mourning the kidnapping of more than 800 individuals, including three Assumptionist priests on October 19, 2012. This word of ours is meant to be an expression of our solidarity with the people of the DRC in general and the Church of Butembo-Beni in particular, and especially to Christ’s disciples working tirelessly for peace and for the development of the people in this region.

2. The dignity of the human person finds its source in God and is inalienable.

We denounce and condemn the cruelty and brutality of these killings – of adults and children alike – in the regions of the Diocese of Butembo-Beni. Our initiative arises from our faith. It is a fundamental principle of our faith that every person is created in the image and likeness of God (Gn 1:27). The massacres that have occurred in the region of Mbau, in the diocese of Butembo-Beni strike us by their heinous, inhuman, and senseless nature; they were not only cold-blooded, but they targeted innocent children, as well as unarmed men and women.

3. The massacres
From October 2014 to this very day, you have had to face horrible massacres. From the information we have received, peace-abiding and unarmed citizens have been abducted and murdered in villages of the territory of Beni. Night-time raids by armed men have resulted in people being kidnapped and others being killed. Pillaging has also taken place: of money, goats, and chicken The nature of these killings is unbelievable: some had their throats slit; children’s arms were gashed; a number of women, even though some were pregnant, were raped and disemboweled; there were cases of entire families being massacred. Victims were killed brutally with machetes, knives, or axes. These killings spread to the Diocese of Bunia in January 2015. Up to the present, more than 400 people have been butchered with the same inhumanity.

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