'We have been completely abandoned by everyone and we are only surviving
thanks to Providence,' says Bishop Théophile Kaboy Ruboneka of Goma
Church leaders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have expressed concern as violence grows in North Kivu with local bishops condemning the insecurity that is spreading throughout the province.
“Our lives here in North Kivu are in total chaos,” Bishop Théophile Kaboy Ruboneka of Goma told the Fides missionary news agency on April 8, one day after the assassination of a local priest by an armed group.
“The situation in my Diocese of Goma as well as in the Diocese of Butembo-Beni is unbelievable,” he said.
“We have been completely abandoned by everyone and we are only surviving thanks to Providence,” he said. “I call on the faithful of the universal church to pray that our region may again find peace.”
On April 8, Father Etienne Sengiyumva, 38, came to the village of Kyahemba to celebrate a baptism and wedding Mass.
He was shot dead as he dined with local parishioners.
One week earlier, Father Célestin Ngango, parish priest at St. Paul’s parish at Karambi in the Diocese of Goma, was abducted by men, who demanded a ransom before eventually freeing him several days later.
Bishop Ruboneka said Father Sengiyumva is the third priest from the region who was killed.
“Investigations into who is responsible for these deaths never go anywhere,” he said. “But from our point of view, we will do everything in our power to identify Father Etienne Sengiyumva’s killers, even though we have few illusions on the matter.”
He said that witnesses to such events often fear for their lives and those of their families, seriously impeding investigations.
In the neighboring Diocese of Butembo-Beni, Bishop Melchisédech Sikuli Paluku said he was concerned by a series of killings over the Easter period.
“At a time when we were preparing to celebrate Easter in serenity, we were shocked by gunfire and killings on a major scale,” he said, providing details of instances in two parishes of his diocese.
“In Our Lady of Fatima parish in Kabasha, the whole population was reeling following confrontations between the regular army and Mai-Mai militia.
“In the parish of St. Gustave at Beni-Paida and again at Mayangose, massacres of local people took place causing eleven deaths, including an 80-year-old woman and a nine-year-old boy,” he said.
Bishop Sikuli Paluku also said that the repeated attacks against civilians had developed near the positions of the Congolese army and United Nations forces, yet neither had intervened.
“Up to the present, five young people have disappeared or been kidnapped by these thugs,” he said.
“Yet, not far from here, there are troops from the Armed Forces of the DR Congo and from the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Congo for the protection of this very population.
“Alas! People have been attacked with no intervention by the armed forces until too late,” he said.
Source : la-croix.com