Congolese Bishop Concerned about Protracted Insecurity, Massacres “happening in silence”

Bishop Melchisedec Sikuli Paluku of DR Congo's Butembo-Beni Diocese.

Promises of action from “political authorities” amid persistent insecurity and killings that have been going on for at least 10 years in the region covered by the Diocese of Butembo-Beni in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) need to be fulfilled, the Local Ordinary of the see in North Kivu Province said in a recent interview.

In the November 4 interview with Radio Moto, Bishop Melchisedec Sikuli Paluku highlights the recent attack on a village and the desecration of a church as examples of the protracted insecurity in his jurisdiction.

“We have been in a state of insecurity for more than a decade. It is happening in silence as if it only concerns the victims of these massacres,” Bishop Paluku said.

The Congolese Bishop challenged the Central African country’s leadership to walk the talk.

“The political authorities tell us ‘yes, we understand, we will try to put an end to it.’ We want these promises to be fulfilled, otherwise it would be better to keep silent,” the Prelate who has shepherded the people of God in Butembo-Beni Diocese for the last 22 years said.


On the night of October 31, militants suspected to be members of the rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) attacked Lisasa village, North Kivu Province in Eastern DRC, reportedly killing at least 21 people including 15 women. 

Additionally, the attackers are reported to have raided a health center, set ablaze homes and desecrated Regina Pacis Maboya Parish church. 

The Lisasa village attack came days after suspected ADF militia had reportedly attacked Baeti village, which is also in North Kivu province, killing at least 18 people and torching down a church and several homes, according to a media reported

In 2012, three Assumptionist Priests ministering in Butembo-Beni Diocese were kidnaped. Two other members of the Clergy were abducted in 2017. 

Making reference to the kidnappings of members of the Clergy, Bishop Paluku lamented, “I don't think I have heard that this has worried the authorities.”

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In the November 4 interview with Radio Moto, Bishop Paluku also bemoaned the desecration of the church of Regina Pacis Maboya Parish saying that the action indicates  “a loss of respect for the sanctity of Holy places.”

“This is a sign that even the holy places no longer have value in the lives of those who commit such acts,” the 68-year-old Congolese Bishop said, adding, “A tabernacle, a place where people come to pray, like in a mosque, you can't afford to go and do just anything.”

He invoked God’s mercy and forgiveness for the desecrators saying that they “do not know what they are doing.”

The Diocese of Butembo-Beni is part of the Ecclesiastical Province of Kisangani.

In March, Church leaders in DRC’s Ecclesiastical Province of Kisangani bemoaned incidences of insecurity in the region, including cases of aggression suffered by some Priests.


Fr. Guy-Robert Mandro, the Parish Priest of the Immaculate Heart Parish of Fataki in Bunia Diocese was attacked by assailants armed with machetes and guns causing him injuries and dismembered fingers.

The origin of the instability in Eastern DRC, according to the Prelates of the Ecclesiastical Province of Kisangani, is “abusive exploitation of natural resources, land conflicts particularly around the problems of the Lomami and Garamba parks, the failure to take into account the needs of the local populations and the exploitation of certain social categories by economic and political interest groups.”

In their message, the Bishops advocated for “the promotion of justice in conformity with the truth, the strengthening of the authority of the State, good governance of the Administrative Provinces, vigilance and sensitization of the population to resist all forms of manipulation and a pastoral care of reconciliation.”

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.