- Jun 14, 2021
Efforts by the Catholic Church – the most respected institution in the Democratic Republic of the Congo – to broker a peace deal have floundered on the altar of mistrust and suspicion. With a proposed agreement disintegrating, the bishops are concerned that the DRC could descend into an all-out war.
Congo’s eastern Kasai and Kivu regions have seen increasing attacks on church personnel and property. One local bishop says the situation has been exacerbated by the arrival of 15,000 refugees from neighboring Burundi and he lamented the militia’s efforts to arm young people.
Catholic bishops in the Democratic Republic of the Congo criticized the lack of sincere political will during the latest round of negotiations to regain stability in the country. The bishops had enough after all parties were pulling back from a decision they had previously agreed on.
“Too often people in countries rich in oil, gas and minerals haven’t seen the benefits of their own natural resources — and it was the U.S. which led the drive to ensure extractive companies had to be more transparent,” Anne Lindsay, a private sector analyst at CAFOD, Britain’s Catholic aid agency said. The Trump administration aims to turn the clock back in favor of mining companies.
Congo’s bishops are concerned regarding the outcome of a government-opposition peace accord, reached in the final minutes of 2016. In a statement they said that “there was no real will to tackle the problems quickly” and that the church-brokered deal might not be able to bring peace to the conflict that has claimed nearly 6 million victims.
Catholic bishops in Congo have renewed their offer to mediate the election crisis to prevent the country from “sinking into an uncontrollable situation,” a statement reads. “Despite all divergences, we believe a political compromise is still possible if the main parties get involved and prove their goodwill around the table.”