DR CONGO: Bishops Condemn Insecurity in the Country

KINSHASA JUNE 30, 2015 – The Bishops of the Democratic Republic of Congo have condemned the insecurity in the north, east and south of the country.

In a statement at the end of their 52nd Plenary Assembly, which was held in Kinshasa June 22 to 26, the bishops said they “have heard the cry of alarm of the population of the Territory of Bondo, following the massacres and kidnappings perpetrated by the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army),” reported Fides.

The bishops added that they have also heard the touching message of the Episcopal Provincial Assembly of Bukavu “which denounces the silence in the face of three major dangers in Kivu: a climate of genocide; a breeding ground of jihadist fundamentalism and a process of Balkanization.”

While emphasizing their call for national dialogue that was promoted by President Joseph Kabila, the bishops said “it [the dialogue] must take place in strict compliance with the constitutional and institutional framework in force,” without reaching a constitutional change to allow outgoing President to stand for election for a third term.

President Kabila, who came to power in 2001 and won subsequent elections in 2006 and 2011, is according to the country’s constitution ineligible to stand in the polls for a third term, but opponents accuse him of seeking to hold onto power beyond 2016 using a constitutional amendment.

This led to days of demonstrations and sit-ins in January against any attempt to change the constitution to keep President Kabila in power.

The Catholic Church, civil society groups and opposition parties, in the DRC have called on the President and his government to respect the constitution and step down in 2016 when the next Presidential elections are to be held.

In their statement the Congolese Bishops further pointed out the dangers the family faces stating that family is a victim of “different forces that seek to distort and even destroy it” and this is why the bishops called for a national conference on the family for the month of February 2016 following the Synod in October dedicated to the family.

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