, 19 December, 2019 / 2:07 AM
As Christians prepare for the yearly celebration of Christ’s nativity, Bishop Placide Lubamba Ndjibu of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) Kasongo diocese has, in his message addressed to Catholic faithful and people of good will, appealed for unity and peace especially in the eastern part of the country, which has been experiencing insecurity.
"We are all invited to work for unity and peace,” Bishop Ndjibu noted in his letter and continued, “our country, the Democratic Republic of Congo is not ending with anti-values of all kinds, mourning, tears, blood, violence, especially here at home in the east of the DRC, because of the presence of local and foreign armed groups that are martyrizing the population.”
“Let us pray that Christmas 2019 will bring us this long-awaited grace of effective peace throughout Congo, especially where conflicts persist in our diocese," the prelate added.
The security and humanitarian situation in eastern DRC has been a concern for citizens who have experienced violence and seen several lives lost due to insecurity.
The vast central African nation has faced a number of crises in recent times including an Ebola outbreak in the east and ongoing violence across the country, particularly in the Ituri, Kasai, and Kivu regions, Global Conflict Tracker has reported.
More than one hundred armed groups, such as the Ugandan Allied Democratic Forces, are believed to operate in the eastern region of DRC despite the presence of more than 16,000 UN peacekeepers.
Millions of civilians have been forced to flee the fighting in the troubled regions with the UN estimating some 4.5 million internally displaced persons in DRC, and more than 800,000 DRC refugees in other nations.
Bishop Ndjibu has condemned the local and foreign armed groups who are causing conflict in the country and called on them to work for unity and peace saying, “The Lord loves the straight path, built or rebuilt by love, charity, forgiveness, fraternity, sincerity, frankness, loyalty, friendship, peace, justice, trust, truth, goodness, wisdom, etc. Here the path is singular, while its opposite above is plural."
The Church leader termed the ongoing inhuman acts as “paths of dishonesty, malice, hypocrisy, fraud, corruption, injustice, hatred, arrogance, enmity, violence, war, tribalism, mistrust, lies, cheating, deregulated passions, envy, etc."
"The Lord who comes is a Prince of Peace, Emmanuel, a God in solidarity,” the prelate concluded as he encouraged the Catholic faithful to proclaim peace.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa