Surge of violence in DRC – One church desecrated in Dibandisha Attacks on Congolese churches are an ‘attempt to sabotage peace’, says cardinal Laurent Monsengwo

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Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, Archbishop of Kinshasa, hands out Communion bread during a Catholic mass in Kinshasa on September 21, 2016 to mourn the victims of the violent clashes of the last few days. Two days of violence in Kinshasa left over 100 people dead, the Democratic Republic of Congo opposition said on September 21, their figure more than tripling the police toll. Police in DR Congo said earlier that 32 people had been killed during the clashes in the capital on Monday and Tuesday, as security forces brought a wave of violence and looting to an end. / AFP / EDUARDO SOTERAS (Photo credit should read EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP/Getty Images)

The Democratic Republic of Congo is in a state of political crisis as the president, Joseph Kabila, has refused to step down from office although he has no mandate to govern.

The Church is a respected mediator in the country, but is being “deliberately targeted” with acts of violence, the cardinal has said.

Last week the seminary of Malole in Kananga was damaged by arson and St Dominic’s church in the Limete municipality of Kinshasa was vandalised and its tabernacle desecrated while a community of Carmelite nuns nearby were also attacked.

In the region of Kasai – Central according to a report from Mgr. Félicien Mwanama Galumbulula, Bishop of Luiza, yesterday around 11.00 some militiamen broke into the city of Dibandisha. They have profaned the church, broken the chairs, the benches and the tabernacle. They have burned the ornaments and the liturgical books.

Following this surge in violence against Catholics, Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo of Kinshasa published a message condemning the violent attacks.

In his message, the cardinal warned that the Church was being deliberately attacked “in order to sabotage her mission of peace and reconciliation.”

“Along with all bishops, we denounce these acts of violence, which are likely to plunge our country further into unspeakable chaos.”

Cardinal Monsengwo called upon the political leaders of the country to resolve the political crisis, saying that history will judge them on their failure to act.

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