DR Congo: Salesian community attacked

 The Salesian community at the Industrial Technical Institute in Goma (capital of North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo) suffered a violent attack from several armed men early last Thursday.

Having found their way in quietly, they assaulted the five religious who are living in the School, which is not far from the headquarters of MONUC, the United Nations' Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, carrying away from the house everything they could.

The Rector of the community, Fr Firmin Kikoli, and Brother Alonso Honorato are both in hospital being treated for the injuries they received in the attack. The doctors confirm that their condition is not dangerously serious. It was Fr Kikoli himself who reported what had happened 'phoning from the hospital to Fr Guillermo Basañes, Councilor for the Africa-Madagascar Region.

In a note to the ANS Agency the Regional Councilor expressing his support for the Salesians of the ITIG community in Goma, said: "We know how in recent times the Congregation, the Pope and the world have looked with compassion at the tragic situation of the people and the youngsters of Goma. Let us continue this network of closeness and solidarity asking the Holy Spirit to continue to inspire effective processes leading to justice and peace".
The community of the Industrial Technical Institute in Goma was the first Salesian foundation in the city, now it is at the heart of a great crisis. Opened in 1981, the "Saint John Bosco" Institute has a secondary school, a festive oratory and various pastoral activities.

"At present it is not known whether the incident was the work of common thieves or of a rebel group, but it is certainly a result of the atmosphere of instability and insecurity that persists in the city of Goma. From the information we have collected, we believe it to be vandalism, because the attackers did not have reason to be seeking revenge or any specific threat and they limited themselves to robbing objects that were easy to carry," Fr. Donato Lacedonio of ANS told Fides.

"We hope that episodes like this one are not repeated because our Fathers and volunteers are working hard to offer aid to the local populations and refugees that have entered the city since the beginning of the war." In Ngangi-Goma, the Salesians opened a center in 1988, which has since become one of the most important centers for rehabilitation of minors in the entire region. In addition to the minors, youth of Ngangi or from neighboring villages, in 1998 with the intensification of the war, the centre began taking in children from all ethnic groups and areas of the country who fled their homes after seeing their families be killed or taken away/

Source: Fides

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