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Congo: Bishop calls for LRA to be classified as terrorists

During the night between March 20 and 21, Ugandan rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) attacked the town Bamokandi, near the town of Dungu, 780 km north-east of Kisangani, the capital of the Eastern Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"This time the army seems to have intervened in time and managed to foil the kidnapping of some people who had already been taken hostage by the rebels," Bishop Richard Domba Mady, Bishop of Dorma-Dungu, told Fides. "In other cases, unfortunately, the population remained in the hands of guerrillas." On March 21, another group of the LRA had attacked the village of Agoumar in south-eastern Central African Republic, not far from the border with the DRC.

"The Ugandan rebels have split into at least five groups that rage among the DRC, Central Africa, and Southern Sudan,” Bishop Domba Mady said. "They have become a regional problem. They continue to sow death and destruction, but it is unclear what
they want or what their political agenda is. This group should be classified as a terrorist organization."

"In the Eastern Province, there are four dioceses affected by the LRA violence, both directly and indirectly, on account of the presence of many IDPs who have fled the terror sown by the guerrillas," says Bishop Domba Mady. "It is the Diocese of
Dorma-Dungu, in Buta, and Bondo, and Isiro-Niangara. In the latter diocese, between December 13 and 14 of 2009, the guerrillas had attacked a village near Tapili, killing a hundred people and abducting 40 people, young and old alike.

Even Archbishop Etienne Ung'Eyowun of Bondo raised the alarm at the serious situation of insecurity in his diocese, after  visiting five of the 10 parishes in the territory. According to the Bishop of Bondo, the LRA is occupying three of four “chefferies” (local administrative divisions) and has forced thousands to flee. In addition to the Ugandan rebels, according to Bishop Ung'Eyowun, nomadic Mbororo herdsmen also contribute to the climate of insecurity, with their cows that devastate the fields of sedentary farmers.

The worst situation is that of Ango, where the population is going hungry because the LRA fighters raided crops and food reserves.
 
Ango, Dakwa, Banda, and Bondo are the places where the situation is more difficult, but according to Bishop Ung'Eyowun: “Despite this suffering, God's people live their faith in dignity and with the hope for a more peaceful day.”

Source: Fides