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.”