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Saturday, February 25, 2017
Congo: bishops appeal for foreign troops to leave
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 The bishops of the Democratic Republic of Congo have appealed for foreign troops to leave their country, the Missionary News Service reports. In a document published yesterday the bishops write: "For some time now, there have been continuous and reliable reports of incursions in the east of ex Zaire by members of the Rwandan armed forces, to which must be added threats and belligerent talk by politicians.." The bishops write of "camouflaged soldiers who cross Lake Kivu, the natural border between Rwanda and ex Zaire, "foreign rebels operating in our territory" and "our fellow countrymen who are expelled from Angola in inhuman ways". The communiqué signed by Cardinal Frederic Etsou, Archbishop of Kinshasa and president of the Congolese bishops' conference says: "All this afflicts our hearts as pastors and threatens the security of the Congolese population". The bishops also criticise the behaviour of "certain compatriots" who, in addition to "deliberately delaying the establishment of the republican institutions, seem to be acting more in the interests of the foreigners' security than of the integrity of their country and the survival of their fellow countrymen and women". These are strong words which, while they do not refer to them explicitly, can only be meant for the ex-rebel groups in the east of the country, which now sit on the transitional government in Kinshasa. The bishops speak openly of "equivocal relations with the warlords who have bases in the east". The document ends by condemning "raids by the Rwandan army, violence by the foreign rebels and the deplorable treatment of our fellow countrymen in Angola"; it also strongly denounces anyone who "intends to impede the transition and prevent the country from taking off" and appeals to the Congolese people to "be doubly vigilant, have faith in the transitional institutions and support the process underway, so that it might lead to free, democratic and transparent elections". Source: MISNA
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