In Congo, Boga diocese appeals for support to avert militia attacks

By ACNS staff
Posted Mar 7, 2012

[Anglican Communion News Service] Bishop William Bahemuka, of the Diocese of Boga in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has issued a call for emergency support to avert increased militia attacks in the region of Bukiringi, 15 miles north of Boga, the seat of the diocese.

On Feb. 24, as the bishop traveled from Bunia to Boga, militia on the road stopped him and demanded payment. After giving them money, he was released and proceeded safely to Boga. The militia has shown willingness to enter into talks with the government, but the government has taken a long time to respond in the wake of their recent contested elections, according to Bahemuka.

The residents of Bukiringi, where the militia is living, have only recently left the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp and returned home. To reduce violent attacks, the militia needs to be fed, Bahemuka said. But, the residents do not have enough food to feed them because of their recent return from the IDP camps.

The bishop, therefore, is appealing for emergency food assistance to avert violent attacks from the militia. The greatest need is for for cassava flour and beans.

Northeastern Congo has suffered from sustained violence since 1997 with only occasional seasons of calm.

Bahemuka said: “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.”

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