Category : Republic of Congo

23 year old Soccer player Fabrice Muamba 'critically ill' after collapsing in match

Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba was critically ill in a hospital’s heart attack unit Saturday night after collapsing during a match at Tottenham.

Muamba fell face-down to the field near the halfway line without any players near him. Medics rushed onto the field with a defibrillator and treated the 23-year-old, pumping his chest for around six minutes of treatment before he was rushed to a hospital….

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Update: Fabrice Muamba ‘showing small signs of improvement’ as his heart beats unaided–read it as well.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Men, Republic of Congo, Sports

ICC landmark ruling finds Congo militia leader guilty

Judges have convicted a Congolese warlord of snatching children from the street and turning them into killers.

The ruling is the International Criminal Court’s first judgment 10 years after it was established in The Hague as the world’s first permanent war crimes tribunal.

Thomas Lubanga did not react as presiding Judge Adrian Fulford read out the verdicts Wednesday. He now faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Europe, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Republic of Congo, Teens / Youth, The Netherlands

An Emergency Appeal for Boga Diocese, Congo

The Rt. Rev. William Bahemuka, the Bishop of Boga Diocese 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 Friday, 24th February, as the Bishop travelled from Bunia to Boga, he was stopped by the militia on the road and they demanded payments from him. 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.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Church in Congo/Province de L'Eglise Anglicane Du Congo, Anglican Provinces, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Republic of Congo

(ENS) Congo's victims of war, disease find solace and healing in Anglican church

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, Republic of Congo

The Archbishop of Canterbury returns from the Congo

The Archbishop of Canterbury today returned from a pastoral visit to the Anglican Church in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where he learnt about the inspirational work of the church in helping individuals and communities rebuild their lives after the trauma of the war waged by rebel armies.

Dr Williams was able to meet a group of young men in Bunia who had been taken from school to join the militia, but who had been brought back to their families by a church organisation called ”˜AGAPE’, which had transformed their lives through faith and compassion. It was evident from their personal testimonies that the real priority for them was to complete their education, with many returning to secondary school to continue their studies, despite being a decade or more older than their classmates.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Archbishop of Canterbury, Republic of Congo

Archbishop of Canterbury to visit Congo and Kenya

The Archbishop of Canterbury is to embark on a pastoral visit to the Anglican Church in Eastern Congo as the guest of the Most Revd Henri Isingoma, Primate of the Church of the Province of Congo. Prior to this the Archbishop will visit Kenya where he will be received by the Most Revd. Dr. Eliud Wabukala, Archbishop of Kenya, and have fellowship with the Christian community in the country.

In the course of his visit to Kenya, Dr Williams will join in with the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the Diocese of Nakuru which will include the presentation of certificates to clergy who have completed 25 years of continuous service. He will attend the dedication of a site for the building of the proposed Kenya Anglican University (KAU) near Mount Kenya and visit local development initiatives where churches and their communities are trying to overcome poverty and adapt to climate change ”“ including a successful biogas project in Machakos Diocese. He will also participate in a symposium in Nairobi to discuss the Church’s mission in the 21st century. During the visit he will learn about the role of the Kenyan church in national reconciliation.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Archbishop of Canterbury, Kenya, Republic of Congo

(Post-Gazette Editorial) Congo's plight: The vast African nation is still crippled by crisis

The recent visit to Pittsburgh of the Anglican archbishop of the Congo, Msgr. Henri Isingoma, calls attention to a problem that is largely being ignored, the country’s plight in the face of years of war and bad government.

Its population is estimated at 70 million and the nation is huge, about the size of the United States east of the Mississippi. It is rich, with copper, cobalt, coltan, gold, diamonds, oil, timber and hydroelectric power capacity as well as endless agricultural lands. It has an active press, with numerous dailies, weeklies and journals.

But the Democratic Republic of the Congo has known endless war from 1996 to the present….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Church in Congo/Province de L'Eglise Anglicane Du Congo, Anglican Provinces, Poverty, Republic of Congo, Violence

DR Congo killings 'may be genocide' – UN draft report

A draft UN report says crimes by the Rwandan army and allied rebels in Democratic Republic of Congo could be classified as genocide.

The report, seen by the BBC, details the investigation into the conflict in DR Congo from 1993 to 2003.

It says tens of thousands of ethnic Hutus, including women, children and the elderly, were killed by the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan army.

Rwanda’s justice minister has dismissed the claims as “rubbish”.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Theology, Violence

Nicholas Kristof: The Grotesque Vocabulary in Congo

I’ve learned some new words.

One is “autocannibalism,” coined in French but equally appropriate in English. It describes what happens when a militia here in eastern Congo’s endless war cuts flesh from living victims and forces them to eat it.

Another is “re-rape.” The need for that term arose because doctors were seeing women and girls raped, re-raped and re-raped again, here in the world capital of murder, rape, mutilation.

This grotesque vocabulary helps answer a question that I’ve had from readers: Why Congo?

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Republic of Congo, Violence

Nicholas Kristof on the Congo: The World Capital of Killing

It’s easy to wonder how world leaders, journalists, religious figures and ordinary citizens looked the other way while six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. And it’s even easier to assume that we’d do better.

But so far the brutal war here in eastern Congo has not only lasted longer than the Holocaust but also appears to have claimed more lives. A peer- reviewed study put the Congo war’s death toll at 5.4 million as of April 2007 and rising at 45,000 a month. That would leave the total today, after a dozen years, at 6.9 million.

What those numbers don’t capture is the way Congo has become the world capital of rape, torture and mutilation, in ways that sear survivors like Jeanne Mukuninwa, a beautiful, cheerful young woman of 19 who somehow musters the courage to giggle. Her parents disappeared in the fighting when she had just turned 14 ”” perhaps they were massacred, but their bodies never turned up ”” so she moved in with her uncle.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Republic of Congo, Violence, Women

Archbishop Deng Lobbies HM Government to help end LRA crisis

The Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, the Most Rev’d Dr. Daniel Deng Bul Yak, has this week sent a petition, on behalf of his Church, the Church of Uganda and the Anglican Church in north eastern DR Congo, to the Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

In the letter, the Anglican Church leaders of the region affected since Christmas by repeated attacks by the self-styled Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) ”“ Southern Sudan, northern Uganda and north eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) ”“ appealed to the British Government for assistance.

The request was specifically two-fold: firstly to put diplomatic pressure on the LRA leaders, leaders in Sudan, Uganda and Congo, and leaders of the UN peacekeeping missions in Sudan and Congo to do more to bring an end to the brutal attacks on unarmed civilians by the LRA, which have seen many Congolese and Sudanese towns swamped with refugees and displaced people since December. Secondly, the prelates pleaded for more international assistance for the relief effort in supporting these displaced people ”“ most of whom are now dependent on their and other churches.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Uganda, Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Republic of Congo, Sudan

New slaughter in Congo

Human Rights Watch is reporting that the rebel Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) brutally slaughtered at least 100 Congolese civilians in the Kivu provinces in the east between January 20 and February 8.

According to reports, HRW researchers interviewed dozens of victims and witnesses who recently arrived at camps near Goma, the capital of North Kivu. Their accounts are the first reports of killings of civilians by the FDLR since joint operations between Rwandan Defence Forces and the Congolese army against the group began on January 20.

“The FDLR have a very ugly past, but we haven’t seen this level of violence in years,” said Anneke Van Woudenberg, the senior researcher in the Africa division at Human Rights Watch. “We’ve documented many abuses by FDLR forces, but these are killings of ghastly proportions.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Republic of Congo, Violence

Bishop of Birmingham David Urquhart: Exorcise the Ghost in Congo

For more than 120 years an area the size of Europe has been known as the African Free State, the Belgian Congo, Zaire, and today the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Stretching from the Atlantic coast to the borders of Uganda and Rwanda and Tanzania in the east and Sudan and Angola to the north and south, this nearly ungovernable territory is home to a multitude of tribes and languages, huge potential of human talent, intelligence and imagination and vast natural resources.

Why, then, is such a wonderful part of God’s creation the subject of Joseph Conrad’s ominous novel The Heart of Darkness (1899)?

The even more crucial question is why over a hundred years later, as Andrew Mitchell MP reported in this Agenda column on November 28, is the Eastern DRC still “a humanitarian catastrophe”?

A very hearty amen to this final question. It remains a matter for daily prayer. Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Poverty, Republic of Congo, Violence

Archbishop of Burundi Goes on a Peace Mission

(ACNS) The Archbishop of Burundi, the Most Revd Bernard Ntahoturi, recently led a 5-strong ecumenical delegation of church leaders from Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo that met with the presidents of the D.R. Congo and Rwanda in order to convey to them a strong message advocating for peace. “People are tired and want an end to the war,” they said, “and dialogue costs much less than armed confrontation”.

More than 250,000 people fled their homes in the eastern part of the D.R. Congo in order to escape the fighting that broke out between the army and rebels in August. The delegation that was initiated by the AACC added their support to Churches in the D.R. Congo who are working with other agencies to alleviate the suffering of people, especially the displaced; and trying to encourage the disarmament and repatriation of armed Rwandan groups living in eastern DRC.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Primates, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Violence

NY Times: A Massacre in Congo, Despite Nearby Support

At last the bullets had stopped, and François Kambere Siviri made a dash for the door. After hiding all night from firefights between rebels and a government-allied militia over this small but strategic town, he was desperate to get to the latrine a few feet away.

“Pow, pow, pow,” said his widowed mother, Ludia Kavira Nzuva, recounting how the rebels killed her 25-year-old son just outside her front door. As they abandoned his bloodied corpse, she said, one turned to her and declared, “Voilà, here is your gift.”

In little more than 24 hours, at least 150 people would be dead, most of them young men, summarily executed by the rebels last month as they tightened their grip over parts of eastern Congo, according to witnesses and human-rights investigators.

Read it all from the front page of yesterday’s paper.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Republic of Congo, Violence

Religious Intelligence: ”˜Silent genocide’ unfolding in central Africa

By: George Conger.

A “silent genocide” is unfolding in Central Africa, church leaders have warned, as soldiers loyal to rebel General Laurent Nkunda march upon government troops holding the city of Goma in the Kivu province of the eastern Congo.

In a statement released through the Congo Church Association, Bishop Bahati Balibusane of Bukavu warns that “over one million people” have been displaced by the fighting. “Men, women, children are living outside, in schools, in churches and in some hospitable families. They don’t have water, food, materials, clothes, utensils and latrines. These people living in hardship are exposed to hunger, illness and death of some fathers, mothers and children,” he wrote in a call for “urgent spiritual, material and financial support.”

Church aid agencies report the fighting between Congolese troops and the rebels has led to widespread atrocities. The Barnabas Fund reports “ young men [have been] killed, women raped by retreating government troops, children kidnapped and forcibly recruited as child soldiers to fight a war that is not their own, soldiers and militias [are] pillaging and looting, and hundreds of thousands of displaced people [are] fleeing for their lives.”

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, Africa, Republic of Congo

Scottish Episcopal Church: Peace on Earth?

“World focus on the current economic situation threatens to overshadow the response to the humanitarian crisis unfolding in DR Congo and elsewhere at a time when the message ”˜Peace on Earth’ begins to take centre stage in our thoughts,” declares the Most Rev Dr Idris Jones, Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

He continues “Over the past few months we’ve all experienced in some way the effects of the global economic crisis. For some the effects are more shattering than for others. More recently shocking reports of the conflicts in DR Congo highlight the massive humanitarian crisis there and the atrocities being carried out on thousands of people. Peace on Earth?

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Republic of Congo, Scottish Episcopal Church

Elaine Storkey: Our Responsibility in the Congo

One human-rights activist has described the Congo as “the most dangerous place on earth for women”: a place where rape as a weapon of war, mutilation, gang torture, blinding, and maiming are all inflicted indiscriminately on women and young girls.

Appallingly, these everyday displays of power and hatred go largely unchecked and ignored by the law. When I was in the South Kivu province, I asked the officer in charge of military justice how many courts dealt with sexual violence against women, and how many men had been convicted. The answer, as I expected, was none.

Goma itself has seen much sexual violence. Yet it has also become a place of hope. A Christian hospital called Heal Africa was set up here, decades ago, by a fearless Congolese surgeon who regularly risks his life to serve his fellows. It trains health professionals and strengthens social activists. Inevitably, the commitment to holistic care has drawn it into treating and combating sexual violence.

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Update: For background on this I strongly recommend taking the time to watch Ben Affleck’s journey to the Congo as shown on Nightline earlier this year: part one is here and part two is there.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Africa, Republic of Congo

ACNS–Bishop Pierre calls for prayer for Congo on 23 November

Dear colleagues,

As you know, the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo continues to fester. Much is still underreported. In addition to the crisis in the Goma region, there are two areas of rebel activity in Congo which have not hit the news: the Dungu area, in the north, where the Lord’s Resistance Army has attacked villages and abducted adults and children in recent weeks, and also the Gety/Aveba/Nyankunde region, close to Bunia, where a new militia group emerged in late September and displaced many people from their homes.

Our Anglican sisters and brothers in those areas have been deeply affected, and are in the forefront of relief efforts and peacemaking.

I am echoing Archbishop Fidèle Dirokpa’s call for a day of prayer for peace in the Congo on Sunday 23 November.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Africa, Episcopal Church (TEC), Europe, Republic of Congo, Spirituality/Prayer, TEC Bishops

The Economist–What Congo means for Obama

As for Mr Obama, he has a chance to restore America’s moral leadership. That is not something he should do by scouring the world in search of new monsters to slay. Nor, though, can a war-weary America turn its back on people threatened by ethnic cleansing or genocide. Since 2005 the UN has accepted a responsibility to protect people in such cases, so this is not a burden for America alone. But since the UN has no army, and no other countries have the military resources America boasts, there may be times when only the superpower can move soldiers swiftly where they are needed.

Should that call come, Mr Obama will need the courage to respond, notwithstanding Americans’ fatigue. In extremis, if the danger is great and veto-wielding members of the Security Council block the way, he and others might have to act without the Security Council’s blessing, as NATO did in Kosovo. Far better would be an early effort by Mr Obama to reach agreement on the rules to apply and forces to earmark so that the UN can actually exercise its collective responsibility to protect. That will be hard, but Mr Bush was actively hostile to such work. How fitting if the next president made possible a genuinely global response to the next Rwanda, Congo or Darfur.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Republic of Congo, US Presidential Election 2008

Christian aid groups fear catastrophe in North Kivu province

Christian emergency response organizations have expressed alarm at a deteriorating situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu province and about brutalities innocent civilians are facing in a potential humanitarian catastrophe.

The Geneva-based ACT International (Action by Churches Together) said in a statement on October 30 that it had accounts from aid workers of looted shops and dead bodies on the pavements in Goma, the capital of North Kivu province.

“It has been a night of horror, but Goma is quiet now,” ACT International quoted one of its aid workers as saying. Emergency work became paralysed after aid workers themselves were withdrawn from the field for security reasons, while thousands of people have sought refuge as rebel leader General Laurent Nkunda has moved towards the city.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Other Churches, Poverty, Republic of Congo

Britain and France call for urgent action on Congo

Britain and France today called for urgent international action to prevent a humanitarian disaster in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo.

In a joint statement to mark the end of their two-day visit to the region, David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, and his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner said there was “no excuse for turning away”.

Gordon Brown, meanwhile, expressed concern that the Congo could be lurching towards a repeat of the 1994 genocide in neighbouring Rwanda in which up to a million people were killed. “I am very concerned by the situation in the Congo,” he told reporters during his tour of the Gulf states. “Thousands have been displaced. We must not allow Congo to become another Rwanda.”

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, Africa, Republic of Congo