DRC Bishop robbed and threatened by gunmen

15 April 2010

by Bill Bowder

THE Bishop of Bukavu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Rt Revd Sylvestre Bahati Bali-Busane, was threatened with death by gunmen during a raid on his house on Friday.

Bishop Bahati said in an email to partner churches after the robbery that the gunmen had forced their way into his home in the early hours, looting the property and leaving with money, clothes, and electronic equipment. They assaulted the security man on duty.

He said that the robbers had told him that they had been paid $US20,000 “to assassinate the Anglican bishop of Bukavu diocese”. When the Bishop pleaded with the gunmen to spare his life, they demanded money, which he gave them.

On Easter Day, rebels attacked Mbandaka, the capital of the Equatorial Province in the DRC, said the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Mbandaka-Bikoro, the Most Revd Joseph Kumuondala Mbimba.

In a report on the RC press agency Agenzia Fides, the Arch­bishop said: “The rebels came while the parishes of the archdiocese were celebrating Easter mass. It was a sudden attack which took everyone by surprise.”

The rebels had crossed the Congo River and headed for the Provincial Assembly, the governor’s residence, and the airport, he stated. They had been driven out by the Congolese army and UN MONUC troops. There had been casualties on both sides.

Sanctuary: aid distribution in the village of Murungu (pictured above), in the High Plateau of eastern Congo. The village has become a safe haven for many families displaced by violence over recent months. ARM Congo, a local partner of World Emergency Relief, provides supplies. www.wer-uk.org

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