Catholic Bishops in Bukavu Province, DR Congo Decry “endemic” Insecurity, Urge Government to Prioritize Citizens’ Safety

Members of the Provincial Episcopal Assembly of Bukavu (ASSEPB). Credit: Radio Moto

Catholic Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are decrying insecurity in their Episcopal Sees.

In their collective statement issued Sunday, April 14, the members of the Provincial Episcopal Assembly of Bukavu (ASSEPB) say, “Insecurity has become endemic, with its trail of killings even in the middle of the day, massacres and kidnappings of peaceful citizens in our towns and villages.”

ASSEPB members decry “the opening up of most of our territorial entities; the M23's surrounding of the town of Goma supported by Rwanda; the strategy of paralysing the economy by isolating and suffocating large and small towns.”

“Despite the holding of elections, the Congolese state remains weak and ineffective,” they further lament. 

The Catholic Church leaders fault the President Felix Tshisekedi-led government for living citizens to their own devices, saying, “The Congolese State is dead, and we, the governed, are abandoned to our sad fate; and we see no indication that today's rulers are thinking about the well-being of the governed in the near future.”


“One wonders whether this behaviour is not contributing to the plan for the balkanization and dismemberment of the DRC, even though the people are already opposed to it,” they lament. 

The Congolese Catholic Church leaders attribute the challenges ordinary people in DRC are facing to “tribalism, electoral fraud and the manipulation of almost all social strata” and add that the highlighted social ills “are increasing the suffering of the people.”

They challenge politicians to come to terms with the correct meaning of politics, prioritizing the people of God. “Politics is the highest form of charity, because its purpose is not to serve oneself, but to serve others and society: the people first,” they say.

ASSEPB members caution their compatriots against despair, saying that the Congolese people should “refuse to die and remain hopeful, praying unceasingly for their conversion and that of their executioners both inside and outside the country, confident that help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.”

They pray that the “image of the Congolese, distorted by evil, be restored.”

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In their April 14 collective statement, ASSEPB members acknowledge with appreciation the dynamism of the people of God and the heroism of Priests and women and men Religious amid “endemic” insecurity.

“Almost everywhere, Parishes are being created, church building are coming up, presbyteries are being improved, and many other services,” the Catholic Bishops in the Ecclesiastical Province of Bukavu say.

The planned beatification of four martyrs, who include three members of Xaverian missionaries and a Priest,  scheduled to take place on August 18 in the Catholic Diocese of Uvira is cause for joy, ASSEPB members also say in their April 14 statement.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.