Congolese instability threatens Great Lakes region

Agenzia Fides reported on 4 October 2016 that the political crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, including instability in Central Kasai and the North and South Kivu regions, threatens to plunge the entire Great Lakes region into chaos.

On 2 October 2016 Agenzia Fides received a report from CEPADHO, a human rights organisation stating, that “the population of the city and the Territory of Beni celebrated the sad anniversary of the beginning of the massacres of civilians that claimed the lives of 1,200 people by the ADF-NAUL Ugandan group.”

The statement was critical of neighbouring Uganda, saying “Uganda has always been conspicuous for its silence in this tragedy, especially since next to Somalis, Kenyans, Tanzanians, Rwandans, Sudanese, Congolese, most terrorists are of Ugandan nationality or infiltrators from Uganda.”

On October 5, Agenzia Fides reported that President Joseph Kabila has confirmed the postponement of presidential elections which were due before 19 December 2016, when his second term was due to expire.

“La Rassemblement”, an opposition coalition, has announced new protests for October 19, which have previously resulted in violent clashes with the police and army, resulting in over 50 dead, 127 wounded and 368 arrests.

Agenzia Fides also reported communications it received from the Peace Network for Congo which stated: “the solution to the crisis could be the search for a compromise between the two positions on the question of the date of the next presidential elections which should be organized on a date that comes as close as possible to that laid down by the Constitution, now impossible to respect”.

There is a growing sense of urgency to find a resolution and all sides are being encouraged to engage in a “national dialogue”.

In its 29 September 2016 edition, the Irish Catholic reported that the Catholic Bishops of the Democratic Republic of Congo have threatened to walk out of dialogue between political groups unless President Laurent Kabila gives a firm undertaking not to seek a third term in office.

“The current President of the Republic must clearly establish and stipulate that he will not be a candidate for the next presidential election to be organised as soon as possible,” the bishops said in laying out the pre-condition for their continued participation. In their statement, the Bishop’s Conference condemned the violence and called on the Congolese people to remember “that they are not enemies but brothers, compatriots of a State that they must build together and not destroy.”

The Agenzia Fides report (4 October 2016) can be read here:

The Agenzia Fides report (5 October 2016) can be read here:

 

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