'No' to the Balkanization of the Congo
Bishops' Statement on the War in the Martyred African Country
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By Paul De Maeyer
ROME, JULY 11, 2012 (Zenit.org).- A firm “no” to the balkanization of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the message sent by the National Episcopal Conference of the Congo (CENCO) in a communiqué issued July 6 in the capital, Kinshasa, at the end of the Conference’s Plenary Assembly.
In the document, the bishops expressed their “profound consternation” over the war that has broken out again in the North and South of Kivu, which is part of a plan of balkanization, condemned already numerous times by the Church.
According to the Episcopal Conference, this plan is revealed in several ways. “On the economic plane in the presence of networks of illegal exploitation of the natural resources and on the political plane by an intensification of the unacceptable presence of militias and foreign armed groups that kill, rape and sack, causing the forced displacement of Congolese populations and an irregular occupation of our territory,” explained the Congolese bishops.
While expressing their solidarity to the populations stricken by “this unjust and unjustifiable war,” the bishops of the Congo “reaffirm the unity and indivisibility of the DRC within its borders, recognized by the international community on June 30, 1960.” “It must be clear: the territorial integrity of the DRC is not negotiable,” said the bishops.
“They invite the elect of the people and all the Congolese people to a patriotic leap so as not to be accomplices in this macabre plan of disintegration and occupation of our national territory,” continues the communiqué.
“The natural resources belong to the Congolese people and must, in the first place, serve the development and well-being of the population,” stressed the Episcopal Conference.
CENCO exhorted all the Congolese who live in the homeland and abroad to mobilize to defeat this “inimical and destructive” plan.
The Episcopal Conference also appealed to the Congo’s neighbors to “cease all interference and all aggression and to privilege the voice of peace and peaceful coexistence to make possible a sustainable development in the sub-region of the Great Lakes.”
The text ended with an appeal to the United Nations and to the international community to put an end to the war and to the plan of balkanization,” implementing without delay the decisions already taken.”
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The communiqué (in French) is available on the Web site of the Episcopal Conference: