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Silent dying in Congo 
The richest country in Africa bleeds to death

After the horrible massacres against the Tutsi in Rwanda 1994, a lot of Hutu fled into neighboring Congo to save their lives. Among those refugees were gangs of youth called "Interhamwe", who were directly involved in the mass-killings of Rwanda. More or less around the same time, Laurent Kabila attacked the marode regime of Mobutu. Since Kabila had only a few troops he allied with the invasion-troops of Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi to expand his influence.

Rwanda in particular took advantage of the uncertain situation in order to pursue the "Interhamwe" and wipe them out. After a short war against the Mobutu regime, in which many Congolese troops laid down their arms, Kabila managed to enter Kishasa and take over the presidency of the country. At that time he was surrounded by Tutsi officers, who watched him closely. After some time he managed to get rid of the Tutsi and change sides.

Then a new war started between Kinshasa and the troops of Rwanda, Uganda, and Burundi. On the grounds that they were pursuing the "Interhamwe," the invasion troops extended their area and, after some time, clashed with Kabila. It was an open secret that the US, Great Britain, and South Africa supported Kagame of Rwanda and Museweni of Uganda. Kabila managed to get help from Zimbabwe, Angola, and Namibia. After initial help, Sudan and Chad pulled out.

Despite the war, a new big scramble over the mineral reaches of Congo started and divided the county in two spheres of influence and exploitation. Like vultures pouncing on their carrions, companies and trusts got busy establishing themselves on both sides. The global players started their dirty games. Franco-Belgian mining companies had to leave the East and were replaced by Anglo-American and South African companies. The mineral reaches are exploited and taken away without concern for the local population.

While the world media report continuously on Israel and Palestine, they are silent about sufferings inside the war-zones of Congo. Only recently, with the murder of Kabila, has the chaotic, political situation of the country come into the spotlight.

The UN remains on an observer level and has not managed to get a real peace initiative started. The interests and concerns of some governments are so strong that a peaceful solution for Congo is still far away. So the silent dying in Congo continues. Approximately 1.7 million people have died since beginning of the war in 1998. Millions of sick and starving Congolese stray through the forests and over the plains to save their lives, disturbed not only by army corps, but also by Mai-Mai militias and robber gangs.

Very few whites managed to remain in the war-zones, among them the Missionaries of Africa, the White Fathers. Some of them were in hiding for weeks in the bush to save their lives. After their return they found burned down churches, hospitals, and schools. All their foodstuffs were stolen and their cars had disappeared. The local population too lost practically everything. Some people fled to the towns for help.

Katoy parish of Goma, for example, took many refugees in, but can't manage to provide the necessities of life. Already their care for the sick requires 1000 dollars a week. The parish of Kibaka has had to send sick people away, because they ran out of medicine. The local seminary was attacked a few times and some people lost their lives. Nobody cares.  The local administration is not providing any protection.

In former years, Congo was able to provide food for its people. Nowadays famine is creeping in, because the Congolese are not able to cultivate their fields. Political analysts have reported more than 100 massacres, committed mainly by the invasion troops. They estimate over 1000 people die each day from killings and hunger.

We should not leave the suffering people of Congo alone. They need food, medicine and clothes. The churches and the missionaries are the last hope for them. Many flock to the parishes to get some help. Please support the hard work of our missionaries through your contribution.

Please send your check to:

Afrikamissionare-Weisse Vaeter
Ludwigsburgerstr. 11
Dresdner Bank
Koeln, Germany
50739 Cologne

Account number: 9 831 241
Bank Code: 370 800 40

-- by Fr. Gerhard Knühl Afr.M.
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