Catholic Bishops in DR Congo Decry “deterioration of security”, Call for Collective Action

Some members of the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO). Credit: CENCO

Catholic Bishops in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have expressed concern about insecurity in the Central African nation and are calling for collective action to restore peace.

In a statement issued Thursday, November 10, members National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO) highlight cases of insecurity recorded in the country in recent times and call for collective responsibility to restore peace.

“We are concerned about the deterioration of security in our country and moved by our prophetic mission, sound the alarm on the danger that our country is facing and on the responsibility of all of us,” CENCO members say in their message issued at the end of their November 7-9 Extraordinary Plenary Assembly in Kinshasa.

The Catholic Bishops note that “since 13 June 2022, certain localities in North Kivu, notably Bunagana, Rutshuru and Kiwanja have been successively occupied again by the M23 rebels with, according to reliable sources, military support from Rwanda and even Uganda.”

“In addition to the loss of human life, both in the ranks of the FARDC (Defense Forces of DRC) and the civilian population, the occupation of these localities has led to massive displacement of the population,” CENCO members further decry. 


They add, “In Ituri as in North Kivu, despite the state of emergency and several measures taken by the authorities to secure our country, we note that the number of deaths has only increased.”

The Catholic Church leaders say it is regrettable that “the international community and the regional organizations that have the levers to bring justice to the Congolese people display a hypocritical attitude that reveals a certain complicity.”

In their four-page statement titled, “The hour is critical. Our country is in danger”, CENCO members say the Central African nation is “witnessing in the western part, specifically in the territories of Kwamouth and Bagata, a large-scale inter-community land conflict between the Teke and non-Teke (mainly Yaka) who have always lived in harmony.”

“Hundreds of people have lost their lives and many are forced to wander and live in dramatic conditions. Curiously, this situation persists despite the deployment of law enforcement agencies,” Catholic Bishops in DRC lament.

They add, “In Central Kongo, particularly in Kimpangu, Mbanza-Ngungu and Sona-Bata, many of our compatriots are being evicted from their villages, their homes destroyed and, even more seriously, their cemeteries desecrated, because their land is being sold, in defiance of their rights, to unidentified foreigners.”

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Against the backdrop of the highlighted challenges, CENCO members say, “Our Nation is in danger! If we are not careful, we will wake up one morning with a country balkanized in one way or another.”

“There is a great risk that the country will be broken up. It is therefore imperative that each of us assume his or her civic responsibilities,” Catholic Bishops in DRC add.

They call on the government to see to it that the most basic right to life is protected, security of all citizens is guaranteed, and territorial integrity of the country is safeguarded.

To do this, CENCO members say, “collective effort is necessary and must be effective.”

“It is imperative to reduce the cost of living of our institutions and our leaders in order to strengthen our means of defense, to modernize and equip our army accordingly and to motivate our security forces,” they add.


In their 19-point message, Catholic Bishops in DRC say, “It is appropriate to set up a broad national framework, beyond political affinities, in order to evaluate the initiatives already taken with a view to deciding on new strategies to save the nation.”

“We are also convinced that no lasting solution to insecurity will be possible without true justice,” CENCO members say, and add, “In this regard, we deplore the fact that people identified as responsible for thousands of deaths are never questioned.” 

They further encourage “diplomatic efforts as a possible solution to the tragedy we are experiencing.”

CENCO members underscore the “extreme need to urgently respond to the needs of displaced persons who, until now, have not been sufficiently assisted.”

“The defense of our homeland must not be left to the government alone,” the Catholic Church leaders say, and add, “At this crucial moment, let us put aside political differences and unite efforts to be stronger in the face of the enemy.”

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They continue, “Let us not cross our arms. As a People, united and standing, we are a force. Let us remain vigilant and mobilize! With peaceful means, we are capable of defeating those who covet our beautiful and rich country.”

“May the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Congo, intercede for us at this moment of our history,” CENCO members implore in their November 10 message.

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.