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Cardinal Ambongo expresses worry over increasing violence in eastern DRC

Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo Besungu, Metropolitan Archbishop of Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, has warned that the situation in the east of the country is deteriorating rapidly. Armed militias have recently captured several towns in the area.

By Vatican News

Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo Besungu, Archbishop of Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, has sounded the alarm over the increase in violence affecting the capital of North Kivu in the east of the DRC, where M23 fighers have taken up arms and advanced on several towns.

Speaking to Fides News, the Catholic Church’s missionary news agency, the Cardinal said “the M23 continues to conquer territory while the Congolese army is in complete chaos,” and “what is feared most is the risk of general insecurity, especially in Goma and generally throughout the east of the country.” 

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is visiting the eastern DRC from 16 to 18 April, a region where violence has caused almost two million people to flee their homes since the end of 2021. 

Cardinal Ambongo says “the Bishops of the ecclesiastical province of Bukavu have presented a very clear analysis of the reality in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo,” as noted in a pastoral letter published in mid-April. He worries “the Church itself is in a dangerous situation in this area,” and “that is why the Bishops of Bukavu Province, like all of us at the national level of the Congolese Episcopal Conference, have taken the decision to accompany the population even in this difficult time.”

He adds that pastoral care for a suffering people calls on us to look at “how we can show a little of God’s love and mercy to these suffering people,” concluding “that’s what the Church is trying to do, but it’s not always easy.”

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