October 20, 2014


DR CONGO: Bishops Strongly Condemn Religious Attack in Lodja

DR Congo Bishops 2

KINSHASA, OCTOBER, 17, 2014 (CISA) – Episcopal Conference of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (CENCO) has condemned the attack on two catholic priests.

“It is unacceptable to blame the church personnel who, faithful to the hierarchy, exercise their pastoral ministry,” said a statement from CENCO.

The two priests were attacked on Sunday October 12 in Lodja, 750 km north of Mbuji-Mayi capital of Kasai oriental, the same day a convent was damaged.

The attack came after the priests reportedly read a Pastoral Letter of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference during Sunday Mass which criticized the proposed constitutional amendment that would allow incumbent President, Joseph Kabila, to vie for election for a third term, Fides reported.

In September, the bishops released a pastoral letter opposing a constitutional amendment that would allow the new presidential term. They cited a provision of the constitution that explicitly prohibits amendments to change the two-term limit. The bishops’ stand drew angry criticism from Kabila’s supporters.

In the message published on 14 October, the Bishops said that the pastoral letter “sparked a lively debate”.

Catholic priests and religious in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been threatened with violence since the country’s bishops opposed bid to allow President Kabila to serve a 3rd term.

The Bishops have organized three days of prayer, from October 17 to 19, all over the Country, “so that God may enlighten the future of the nation.”

President Kabila supporters have formed a group of “young Catholics” to petition the Vatican, calling for an end to the “interference of the Congolese bishops in national politics” but the bishops’ conference said the group’s leaders are not affiliated with existing Catholic organizations.






SOMALIA: Al Shabaab Civilian Attacks Response to Military Defeats, says Bishop


MOGADISHU OCTOBER 17, 2014(CISA) - Bishop Giorgio Bertin of the Catholic diocese of Djibouti and Apostolic Administrator of Mogadishu has said that Al-shabaab attacks on the civilian population are a response to military defeats.

Speaking to Vatican Radio, the bishop said that the militants have withdrawn to rural areas while others have mingled among civilian population to avoid fighting the army directly.

“Attacks against the civilian population are a response to military defeats .The different opponents to the present government, of federal union – Al-Shabaab and perhaps also others – of course they cannot fight directly against an army, and so they have withdrawn to rural areas or mingled themselves among the civilian populations,” said the Bishop.

The Bishop said that in the past few weeks, the Somali government and the African Mission to Somalia forces have conquered among others, the town of Brava in Southern Somalia.

Asked about the Church’s hopes for the future in Somalia, Bishop Bertin said: “For the Church, it is important that the structures of the state are reborn, because these will guarantee a certain security, certain order, first of all for the local population, but also for us as Church because at the moment our presence is confined to humanitarian actions through our local partners.”

On October 16, at least five people were killed and several wounded when a car bomb reportedly planted by Islamist militant group al Shabaab exploded near restaurants on a busy street in Mogadishu, Somali capital.

Al Shabaab, which is attempting to topple the government, has frequently launched bomb and gun attacks in Mogadishu and promised more attacks after losing control of a major coastal stronghold this month.


LIBERIA: Bishop says Liberians ill-treated during Ebola Crisis


MONROVIA, OCTOBER 17, 2014(CISA) – Bishop Anthony Fallah Borwah of the Catholic diocese of Gbarnga has said that his people of Liberia are being treated like “scum” during the Ebola crisis.

“As Bishop of my people I carry within my heart their wounds and pains every moment of life here,” he told The Time adding that “Liberians are also facing polygamy, unemployment, domestic violence and child trafficking.”

Bishop Borwah said he had lost his spiritual director, Fr Miguel, of Spain, mentor and Dr Abraham Borbor, and prayer partner Tidi Dogba because of the Ebola virus.

He said that because of the crisis in Liberia, he was unable to attend the synod on family in Rome happening this month. He did, however, submit a paper to the synod.

“Existential questions from the poor, prevalently during the Civil war, are been asked again: Where is God? What wrong have we (Liberians) done again? How come we have once again become the abandoned and scum of the earth?” the paper reads in part.

The bishop stressed that the country needs more outside help.

“Recently one of the survivors — my kinsman — committed suicide when people avoided him and he felt that he was unworthy of love anymore,” bishop Borwah said. “We need more support to feed the thousand whom are hungry and angry and to care and counsel the Ebola survivors who carry the stigma.”


KENYA: KNEC says all is Set for National Exams


NAIROBI, OCTOBER 16, 2014(CISA) – The Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) has said that adequate measures have been put in place to ensure the national examinations run smoothly.

KNEC Chief Executive Officer Joseph Kivilu said that the 2014 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations will go on as planned and urged candidates to desist from malpractice.

“Tough measures including a five-year jail term or a Sh2 million fine will be slapped on those found to have engaged in any malpractice,” Capital FM quoted Mr Kivilu as saying during a press briefing in Nairobi, Thursday October 17.

He further stated that candidates found cheating will also be barred for up to three years from sitting for any KNEC exam.

“Information that we have received so far indicates that people were planning to get involved in examination irregularities. We have also been informed that there are fake papers that are being distributed,” he said.

He revealed that evidence of collusion has already been unearthed and stressed that those found culpable will be dealt with severely.

“The council has established that there are also candidates and university students who wish to be involved in these examination malpractices by collecting money to buy examination papers and others by distributing such papers to candidates for a charge,” he said.

He stated that the distribution of examination papers across all the centers will be done in a timely manner to avoid any delay in the examinations.

“The dispatch of the examination papers and other examination materials to over 1,000 distribution centers across the country will be carried out weekly. These centers are mainly police armories and chiefs camps. The supervisors will pick the examination papers and store them in the examination room for safety,” he said.

Over 187,000 personnel to deal with supervision, security and marking of the examination have been deployed to ensure the process runs smoothly according to the KNEC boss.

According to the exams body KCSE exams begun on October 14 while KCPE will commence on November 4.


KENYA: Doctors Demand more Govt Response in Tackling Risk of Ebola


NAIROBI, OCTOBER 17, 2014(CISA) – Kenyan doctors have called on the government to put more effort to minimise the increasing risk of transmission of the Ebola disease.

“We have to start preparing our healthcare system to be able to handle in case the first case arises,” said Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) Secretary General Dr Sultani Matendechero during a press briefing on Thursday October 17.

Dr Matendechero lamented that despite the government forming a task force to handle the issue, none of their representatives have been included thus leaving them ‘in the dark’ over the goings on, reported The Standard Newspaper.

“The healthcare workers are the front line soldiers in this war against Ebola and we are not going to wait until this situation worsens for us to begin developing the frame work,” said Dr Matendechero.

“The protocols have not been disseminated to every single health worker. The personal protective equipment are only present in a few hospitals. The first step in treating Ebola is to ensure you have standard precautions – basics are missing from our hospitals,” added Victor Ngani, chairman, KMPDU.

Elsewhere, East African Community (EAC) member states are working on a common strategy to deal with the Ebola virus that has ravaged West Africa, regional leaders have said.

“East Africa is trying to come up with a common strategy to counter the spread of the disease,” President Uhuru Kenyatta said at the East African Business Summit in Kigali, Rwanda on Thursday October 17.

He said health ministers from the region have been meeting since last month over the crisis and “they are currently in Arusha, Tanzania, deliberating to see a common front to this disease.”

President Kenyatta who chairs the East African Community Heads of States Summit also said the region is keeping ‘a close eye’ on the outbreak and that the African Union (AU) is working on a plan to collaborate and assist Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.