Category : Republic of Congo

(PPG Editorial) Congo chaos: Another ‘president for life’ in this African nation?

Three recent disastrous events in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly Zaire, indicate that it may be approaching another meltdown point, not at all the first in its history.

The highly contagious disease Ebola, the outbreak of which in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in West Africa in 2014 became a global concern, has reappeared, not for the first time, in northeast DRC, in the region of Kisangani, formerly known as Stanleyville. The area where it has appeared is so remote and devoid of infrastructure that even Doctors Without Borders is having a hard time getting personnel and supplies into it.

The second event, potentially catastrophic in its implications, is the killing of two human rights workers, one Swedish and the other American, who were inquiring, on behalf of the United Nations, into reports of other killings, perhaps even by DRC soldiers, in the south-central region of the country. Other deaths, of Congolese colleagues of the two international workers, may also have occurred although neither they nor their bodies have yet been found.

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Posted in Politics in General, Republic of Congo

(GC) A Woman of Whom the World Was Not Worthy: Helen Roseveare

I shared a Helen Roseveare story last September but did not have occasion to note her passing as of yet–KSH.

Dr. Helen Roseveare, a famous English missionary to the Congo, has passed away at the age of 91.

Helen Roseveare was born in 1925 at Haileybury College (Hertfordshire, England), where her father taught mathematics.

Raised in a high Anglican church, Helen’s Sunday school teacher once told their class about India, and Helen resolved to herself that she would one day be a missionary.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, Missions, Parish Ministry, Republic of Congo, Theology

Congo's RC Bishops Urge Settlement of Political Crisis Before Christmas

Mediators urged Congo’s president and opposition parties to reach an agreement before Christmas on a peaceful settlement to the country’s political crisis, saying dozens already have been killed this week amid protests over the president’s stay in power.

“Enough is enough,” Msgr. Marcel Utembi, one of the Catholic Church mediators, said Wednesday. “A solution must be found as soon as possible by all political actors, but in particular by the government in order to reassure the Congolese people.”

He also conveyed a message from Pope Francis following their meeting this week: “I am concerned by what is happening in your country, which I wish to visit at the opportune moment. I pray for the Congolese people, who need peace so much now.”

Read it all from the WSJ.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Anthropology, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Republic of Congo, Roman Catholic, Theology, Violence

Helen Roseveare's tale of a Dying Baby, a Hot Water Bottle, A Childs Prayer, + A Childrens Doll

One night, in Central Africa, I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all that we could do, she died leaving us with a tiny, premature baby and a crying, two-year-old daughter.

We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive. We had no incubator. We had no electricity to run an incubator, and no special feeding facilities. Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts.

A student-midwife went for the box we had for such babies and for the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in. Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly, in distress, to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst. Rubber perishes easily in tropical climates. “”¦and it is our last hot water bottle!” she exclaimed. As in the West, it is no good crying over spilled milk; so, in Central Africa it might be considered no good crying over a burst water bottle. They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways. All right,” I said, “Put the baby as near the fire as you safely can; sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts. Your job is to keep the baby warm.”
The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with many of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle. The baby could so easily die if it got chilled. I also told them about the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died. During the prayer time, one ten-year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt consciousness of our African children. “Please, God,” she prayed, “send us a water bottle. It’ll be no good tomorrow, God, the baby’ll be dead; so, please send it this afternoon.” While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added by way of corollary, ” ”¦And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she’ll know You really love her?” As often with children’s prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say, “Amen?” I just did not believe that God could do this. Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything: The Bible says so, but there are limits, aren’t there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever received a parcel from home. Anyway, if anyone did send a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator!

Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses’ training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time that I reached home, the car had gone, but there, on the veranda, was a large twenty-two pound parcel! I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone; so, I sent for the orphanage children. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box. From the top, I lifted out brightly colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then, there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children began to look a little bored. Next, came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas ”“ ”“ that would make a nice batch of buns for the weekend. As I put my hand in again, I felt the”¦could it really be? I grasped it, and pulled it out. Yes, “A brand-new rubber, hot water bottle!” I cried. I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could. Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, “If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!” Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully dressed dolly. Her eyes shone: She had never doubted! Looking up at me, she asked, “Can I go over with you, Mummy, and give this dolly to that little girl, so she’ll know that Jesus really loves her?”

That parcel had been on the way for five whole months, packed up by my former Sunday School class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God’s prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. One of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child ”” five months earlier in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it “That afternoon!” “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” Isaiah 65:24

–From her book Living Faith and shared by yours truly in the morning sermon (Helen Roseveare is still living in her nineties in Northern Ireland–you can read more about her there).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Africa, Children, Church History, Missions, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Republic of Congo, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

(Church Times) Appeal launched for victims of DRC sex attacks

An emergency appeal for the thousands of women and girls affected by endemic sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been launched by the charity Tearfund.

It is estimated that up to 1.8 million women in the country have experienced conflict-related violence, and that thousands more are added every day. Tearfund is urging people to fund its work, empowering communities to support survivors and tackle the “harmful social norms” that are among the causes of the violence.

Although the civil war officially ended in 2003, conflict persists in the east, where violence is “rampant” and “mindless”, and includes the rape of children and babies, the head of the charity’s sexual violence team, Veena O’Sullivan, says.

Read it all.

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

(MSF) Democratic Republic of Congo: Katanga Measles Epidemic Keeps Worsening

A growing measles epidemic in the province of Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo, has sickened more than 20,000 people and killed 300 people this year, according to official figures, while resources to combat the outbreak are still lacking, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warned today.

More than 20 of Katanga’s 68 health districts are now affected””up from 10 districts in June””but the Congolese government has still not made an official declaration of the epidemic, which may have delayed a timely response.

“Every day we discover new deaths related to measles that have not been accounted for,” said Augustin Ngoyi, MSF coordinator of the response. “In a village of 500 inhabitants two hours’ drive from Kabalo, more than 30 children under 5 years of age have died in the last two months. Their little graves are still visible in the cemetery. This represents one third of this age group in the community.”

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

(C of E) Statement on the SOCO International AGM

Following allegations of human rights abuses, bribery and corruption the Church Commissioners and Pensions Board have raised serious concerns with SOCO International and its board since November 2013 and intensively since December 2014. Our concerns specifically address four main areas relating to the company’s operations in and around Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The four main areas are:

”¢ The instigation of a wide ranging and transparent independent enquiry of SOCO’s operations in and around Virunga National Park.

”¢ Amendment of the previously issued statement agreed between SOCO and WWF to remove any room for doubt about SOCO’s intentions within existing or future boundaries of a World Heritage site so that there are, without exception, no circumstances in which SOCO would conduct further exploration or production activities in the Virunga National Park or any other World Heritage site.Following allegations of human rights abuses, bribery and corruption the Church Commissioners and Pensions Board have raised serious concerns with SOCO International and its board since November 2013 and intensively since December 2014. Our concerns specifically address four main areas relating to the company’s operations in and around Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The four main areas are:

”¢ The instigation of a wide ranging and transparent independent enquiry of SOCO’s operations in and around Virunga National Park.

”¢ Amendment of the previously issued statement agreed between SOCO and WWF to remove any room for doubt about SOCO’s intentions within existing or future boundaries of a World Heritage site so that there are, without exception, no circumstances in which SOCO would conduct further exploration or production activities in the Virunga National Park or any other World Heritage site.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Republic of Congo, Theology

(Church Times) FGM expert brings tears to MEPs’ eyes describing the suffering in Congo

Members of the European Parliament listened in tears on Wednesday as this year’s winner of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, Dr Denis Mukwege, outlined a catalogue of sexual violence and abuse in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Dr Mukwege was presented with the award “in recognition of his on-going efforts to restore the physical and psychological integrity of thousands of women and girls who are victims of sexual abuse by rebel forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

He has spent the past 15 years working with women who are the victims of a planned and continuing campaign of sexual violence. He is now seen as a leading international expert in repairing women’s mutilated reproductive organs.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Republic of Congo, Teens / Youth, Theology, Violence, Women

(Wash. Post) In Congo, trapped in violence and forgotten

The village in eastern Congo lies at the epicenter of one of Africa’s most brutal and longest-running wars. It is both military base and refugee camp, both killing field and sanctuary, a place woven from chaos and resilience. Civilians trapped in relentless violence struggle to live. Death arrives in many forms ”” guns, machetes, disease and hunger.

It is a war that has claimed an estimated 5 million lives, many from starvation, disease and other conflict-related causes, since 1998 ”” more casualties than the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq combined, and more than any conflict since World War II. It is a war that the world’s largest and most expensive U.N. peacekeeping mission has failed to quell. The peacekeepers, heavily financed by Washington, are now engaged in their most ambitious effort in years to end the fighting.

And yet the war remains invisible to most outsiders, who have grown weary of the unending cycle of violence. Today, relief groups have trouble raising money to help Congo as more publicized upheavals in Syria, South Sudan and elsewhere grab the world’s attention.

Read it all.

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

(ACNS) Congo Anglicans reach out to Pygmy community

The Anglican Church in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is breaking new ground by bringing help and hope to a Pygmy community living in the country’s forests.

Pygmy peoples live in several ethnic groups across the forests of central Africa. There are an estimated 250,000 to 600,000 living in the Congo rainforest alone.

These forest dwellers have lived by hunting and gathering for millennia. But in the past few decades their homelands have been devastated by logging, war and encroachment from farmers. Their appearance and lifestyle means they have also been marginalized by much of society

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Church in Congo/Province de L'Eglise Anglicane Du Congo, Anglican Provinces, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Religion & Culture, Republic of Congo

R. Catholic Bishops in Congo join Archbp Justin Welby in prayers for peace

The Catholic Vicar General of Goma, Mgr Louis Nzabanita, welcomed Archbishop Welby, saying that his visit sent an important message of commitment to work towards peace.

“It’s the first time that the Archbishop of Canterbury has visited our region and with our ongoing peace initiative, it has become clear that both the Anglican and the Catholic Churches have a vital role to play in spreading the message of protection for civilians and working towards a more sustainable peace process. Together we must be the instruments of change.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Africa, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Republic of Congo, Roman Catholic, Violence

Abp Welby to visit South Sudan and Great Lakes Region

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will visit South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo to meet Primates of the Anglican Communion, in a five-day visit to the region starting on Thursday this week.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, --South Sudan, Africa, Archbishop of Canterbury, Burundi, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sudan

(ACNS) Appeals from the Diocese of Aru as rebel groups continue to attack

Bishop Ande Georges from the Diocese of Aru, in the Oriental Province of the DRC, is calling for support from fellow Anglicans to expand their work with communities affected by ongoing attacks from rebel groups and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

Already doing everything they can to attend to the needs of their communities, churches are desperate to provide more support and show God’s strength and victory to those facing this humanitarian emergency.

This detailed explanation from the Bishop explains how two areas in his diocese have been particularly affected by the violence….

Read it all.

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

Fresh Fighting Around Goma, DRC, Increases Pressure On Anglican Work for Women Affected By War

Reports of fresh fighting around Goma and attacks on women in the conflict zone have been sent to the Anglican Alliance from the Church in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It has increased pressure on the project run by the Anglican church in Goma, in the Diocese of Bukavu, to support women and girls rejected by their families after being subjected to sexual assaults and rape – which is being used as a weapon of war.

The Anglican clergyman who is organising the programme, sent the following report of renewed fighting: “Yesterday, Sunday afternoon after Church morning services, there were lots of chaos, due to bombs that were booming around Goma. The media said that it was a fighting between M23 and DRC government army.

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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, Republic of Congo, Violence, Women

(ACNS) Anglican University in Congo attacked

One of the member schools in Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion (CUAC) in Africa has been affected by the fighting in Congo.

Despite being 250 miles north from the fighting in Goma, the Université Anglicane du Congo experienced its first attack since its opening two years ago. The Revd Canon Daniel Sabiti Tibafa, the university vice chancellor, has sent the following report:

“Yes, the morning night of 22 December 2013 at around 2:00 am, armed people broke the door of our house threatening to kill all of us if we did not have any money on us. They forced the door with heavy stones”¦and the guns to destroy the lock of the door. In the house we managed to get $200 and they forced me to take them into my office where we got another $250. They beat me on the back and on my right hand. The right hand pain is still being dealt with by our lovely nurse Miss Kiiza Kahwa.

Read it all

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