Congo bishop calls for emergency support

A bishop in the Democratic Republic of Congo has appealed for donations over fears that a militia group camped in his diocese may go on the rampage.

The militia is currently settled in the region of Bukiringi, 15 miles north of Boga, and is the last active militia group in the north-east of the country.

The group has expressed an interest in entering into talks with the government of the DRC but the recent contested elections have delayed progress.

The local population are expected to feed the militia but many of the residents have only recently returned from camps for Internally Displaced Persons and have little food spare.

The Bishop of Boga, the Rt Rev William Bahemuka, fears that the militia may start to attack communities in Bukiringi if they are not fed.

Bikiringi has known only intermittent peace since attacks started in 1997. Militia groups have gained a terrifying reputation across the DRC for the brutality of their attacks, which typically involve rape and murder.

Bishop Bahemuka recently encountered the group in Bukiringi when he was travelling from Bunia to Boga. They stopped him on the road and demanded payments from him. When he handed over some money, they released him and let him continue his journey to Boga.

The bishop is appealing for $10,000 (£6,400) to provide emergency supplies of cassava flour and beans to feed the militia and spare the local population more attacks.

He explained, “This militia is the last remaining active militia in Ituri Province and if they can reach a peace agreement with the government, then there will, at last, be peace in Ituri Province.

"But, if the talks are delayed and the militia does not have food to eat, then they will revert to attacks, rapes, and murder of innocent civilians.

"With just a little food, we can avert a crisis and work toward a lasting peace in Ituri after 15 years of violence and suffering.”

Contributions in the UK can be sent to the Congo Church Association. Cheques should be made payable to the Congo Church Association, with a memo indicating that it is for Boga Emergency Assistance, and mailed to:

Paul Dickens, Hon Treasurer
Congo Church Association
Hockliffe Grange
Leighton Buzzard
Beds LU7 9NL

In the United States, Global Mobilization Ministries is receiving tax-deductible contributions. Cheques should be mailed to:

Global Mobilization Ministries
1048 Irvine Avenue, #556
Newport Beach, CA 92660-4602

Write in the memo line: Congo emergency assistance