Congo Prelate Outraged by Slayings

Asks Government for Solutions, not Useless Talk

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BAKAVU, Congo, MAY 30, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The Church is asking for troops to be send to the eastern region of Congo, following the slaying of 18 people in Kaniola last weekend.

 
Archbishop François-Xavier Maroy of Bukavu appealed to the French ambassador in Congo, asking the government to "treat the security problem in the east of the country as a priority and stop trying to distract public opinion with proposed plans for negotiations, dialogue and a round table which leads to nothing," Aid to the Church in Need reported.

Saturday night and Sunday morning, two villages were attacked in the region of South-Kivu. Besides the 18 killed in their sleep, another 27 were wounded and 18 others kidnapped.

"The massacre in Kaniola was carried out almost in the presence of the major of the regular army," the archbishop continued. "The cries of the people clearly did not disturb his sleep, even though the massacre took place not far from the place where he is stationed. ... As in 1996, our army ... was incapable of protecting the people."

"How are we to interpret the silence of the institutions of the republic, of the head of state, the Parliament, the central government and the military, in the face of these repeated massacres in Kaniola?" Archbishop Maroy said. "In other countries the taking of a hostage, even if it is only a matter of a single person, immediately prompts the state apparatus to react.

"So far as the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo is concerned, all they can offer us, in the face of the threat of a new war and while massacres are being perpetrated against the civilian population, is an 'inter-communicative' round-table discussion, instead of tackling the real problems, which involve the restoration of military order and security. Is this complicity or ignorance?"