DR Congo: Church stands in solidarity with war victims

The Catholic community in Isiro, in the Equator Province in north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, held a procession and a Mass to remember and pray for the victims of Ugandan rebels of the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army). The day was also an expression of solidarity with those who have been wounded, tortured, or kidnapped by rebels.

For months the Ugandan rebels have plagued the region by attacking defenseless villages.  In the absence of the Bishop of Isiro, Bishop Julian Andavo Mbia, the Mass on Sunday  was presided by Msgr Dieudonné Abakuba, Episcopal Vicar, and concelebrated by a dozen priests, in the presence of 800 faithful.

"We are gathered here to celebrate the Eucharist and to commemorate our fellow victims of the LRA, and to express our solidarity with all who suffer," said Msgr Abakuba  in his homily.

"We do not understand why this is happening today, but we can see these events with the light of faith. May the Lord open the hearts of the country's authorities to seek solutions. Many people have left their villages for fear of further attacks, the dead have been left without burial. Nobody likes to have to be an evacuee. We must help our brothers who bear the brunt of this suffering. We are gathered here to share with our brothers, the pain and assets we have. What we have received from the Lord is not only for us, but is for the good of all. May we open our hearts and hands to relieve the suffering of others. We are called to communion and understanding."

Fr Tatsima Baldwin, head of the diocesan Caritas, said: "Internally Displaced People (IDP)  are people like us, who because of the LRA rebels have lost their children, spouses, parents, property, and home. We do not even know the fate of some who fled into the forest."

On Tuesday, 2 February, an interfaith conference on the crisis caused by the LRA was  convened by Archbishop Marcel Utembi Tapa of Kisangani.

Source: Fides

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