Catholic Bishops in DR Congo “strongly condemn” Violent Protests against UN Peacekeepers

Mons. Donatien Nshole, reading the message of members of the National Episcopla Conference of Congo (CENCO) on July 27 in Accra, Ghana. Credit: ACI Africa

Catholic Bishops in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have “strongly” condemned the recent protests targeting the United Nations (UN) peacekeepers in the country’s cities of Goma and Butembo.

On July 25, hundreds of youth reportedly attacked and looted the warehouse of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) in Goma, demanding that the UN peacekeepers leave the country, various media reported

At least five people were reportedly killed on Monday, July 25, the first day of the violent protests, which intensified the following day, doubling the death toll to ten people.

In his address to delegates of the 19th Plenary Assembly of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) on Wednesday, July 27, the Secretary General of the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO) said that Catholic Bishops in DRC are “following with attention, regret and sadness” the evolution of the protests organized against MONUSCO, particularly in Goma and Butembo.

Mons. Donatien Nshole who was reading out the statement of the Catholic Bishops in DRC said, “CENCO firmly condemns all the violence that prevailed during the Goma and Butembo protests, wherever it came from.”


Mons. Nshole further said that Catholic Church leaders in DRC are expressing their “condolences and closeness to the grieving families of all parties and recommend all the deceased to divine mercy.”

“CENCO understands the anger of the compatriots who are participating in these protests. Moreover, like them, it believes that the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo and MONUSCO have shown their limits in their mission to provide security for the population exposed to attacks by armed groups in the DR Congo,” the Secretary General of CENCO said.

While “peaceful protest is a right recognized to every citizen by international instruments and the Constitution of the DR Congo,” he said, CENCO members however caution against violence, arguing that “resorting to violence or looting is an act that can only amplify and perpetuate the evil and the suffering of the population.”

After more than two decades of insecurity, Catholic Bishops in DRC regret the fact that “successive governments and the various United Nations resolutions have not succeeded in neutralizing the national and international armed groups,” Mons. Nshole said.

Armed groups in the Central African nation “continue, with impunity, to wreak havoc on the civilian population of eastern DR Congo,” he told delegates of the 19th SECAM Plenary Assembly who include more than 120 Catholic Bishops from the eight regional associations of the continental symposium.

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As a way forward, Mons. Nshole said, Catholic Bishops in DRC “encourage the Congolese State and MONUSCO to carry out a joint investigation so that the conditions in which the violence and looting took place can be brought to light and the perpetrators brought to justice.”

“CENCO recommends that politicians and community leaders refrain from any discourse likely to provoke hatred and violence, especially during this pre-electoral period,” the Congolese Priest said, reading the collective statement of the Catholic Bishops in DRC that was signed by CENCO President, Archbishop Marcel Utembi Tapa.

He said that CENCO members are urging the Congolese people to “exercise, in all cases, their right to protest peacefully in accordance with the laws of the Republic.”

The Catholic Bishops further encourage the Congolese government “to hold consultations with MONUSCO and civil society organizations in order to establish a diagnosis of the interventions of all parties concerning the return of peace in the eastern part of the DR Congo,” Mons. Nshole said. 

“May the Lord, through the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace, bless the DR Congo and its inhabitants,” the Secretary General of CENCO implored in his July 27 address at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) Conference Center, the venue of the 19th SECAM Plenary Assembly.


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.