Catholic Bishop in DR Congo “deeply concerned” about Rising Insecurity in Maniema Province

Bishop Placide Lubamba Ndjibu of the Catholic Bishop of Kasongo Diocese in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Bishop Placide Lubamba Ndjibu of the Catholic Bishop of Kasongo Diocese in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has said he is “deeply concerned” about the rise in cases of violence in Maniema Province, a territory in his Episcopal See. 

On October 2, violent clashes between the troops of Sheikh Kabala, leader of the Maï-Maï Malaïka movement, and the self-proclaimed General Mandevu, allegedly a dissident of the said movement, left dozens dead and several others displaced, Radio Okapi reported.

In a statement circulated Tuesday, November 1, Bishop Lubamba says, “The Diocese of Kasongo and its territories in the Southern part of Maniema (Kasongo and Kabambare), is prey to yet another situation of insufficient peace, which has serious repercussions on its population, already impoverished by deplorable living conditions.”

“We are deeply concerned about the clashes between the troops of Sheikh Kabala and General Mandevu,” the Congolese Catholic Bishop says in his statement.

The member of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) says the crisis between the two groups is “sowing a climate of terror, desolation and stupor with the following humanitarian consequences: deaths, rapes, closure of schools, destruction of granaries and food reserves, looting of livestock (goats, sheep) and chickens, loss of essential household items (AME), burning of houses, human rights violations, population movements with a wave of internally displaced persons in the neighboring localities.”


Faced with this situation, the Congolese Bishop says, “It is our responsibility to put ourselves on the side of the victims and to say with the prophet Habakkuk: Until when Lord will we have to endure this nightmare?”

The 63-year-old Bishop who has been at the helm of Kasongo Diocese since his Episcopal Ordination in May 2014 launches a “distress call for peace and security in the two territories of Kasongo and Kabambare, following the example of other parts of the Republic.”

Peace and security, Bishop Lubamba says, is “a guarantee of development and a fulfillment of the aspirations of our populations who are languishing in misery, while those who manage the resources are swimming in abundance, displaying indifference towards the martyred population.”

“We say no to violence, no to fratricidal confrontations that bring multiform suffering to our population, no to scenes of looting, no to the wicked destruction of houses, no to killings, no to hatred, because we are all brothers and sisters and our future – and that of our children – depends on it,” he says in his statement dated October 30.

The Congolese Bishop adds, “We say yes to dialogue, yes to joint development and opening up activities, yes to peaceful cohabitation between communities, yes to mediation if the means and ways allow it, yes to advocacy for humanitarian assistance.”

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Bishop Lubamba invites the Félix Tshisekedi-led government to “re-establish its sovereign power over this part of the national territory and to ensure peace and security for the population.”

He also invites the Congolese government to “rapidly provide humanitarian assistance to the victims and host families and thus allow the displaced to quickly return to their places of origin in this period of cultivation.”

The Local Ordinary of Kasongo Diocese urges the warring parties to “stop the confrontations and put away the swords.”

“Dialogue, sometimes with the help of mediators, if the conditions are right, is always a source of lasting peace, because violence always begets violence,” Bishop Lubamba says.

He goes on to urge the parties in conflict to “refrain from all acts that are likely to violate human rights and to commit themselves resolutely to a frank dialogue with the Government of the Republic for a favorable and just outcome.”


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.