Mission - Resources - Stories

War in the Democratic Republic of Congo

We are seeking for lasting peace, justice, reconciliation and to fight the silent enemy HIV and AIDS in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The war in the Democratic Republic of Congo started in 1996 by a group of rebels led by Laurent Kabila came against President Mobutu Seseseko and eventually took over in May 1997, and became the president of the D R Congo.  Mobutu Seseseko took refuge in Morocco where he died in September 1997.

In 1998, another group started a new rebellion against President Laurenti Kabila.  This second rebellion was formed by five different small groups from different regions in the country, each group having its own leader and its own army.  Also the neighbouring countries - Uganda, Rwanda, Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Burundi used this opportunity to send their troops and army into the D. R.  Congo to help the rebels.  They came not only to fight but also to loot the resources from the D. R.  Congo.  In January 2001, President Lauarent Kabila was shot by one of his guards and he died.  Then his son Joseph Kabila took over power and he is the present president of the D R Congo.

Some consequences of this war

About 3.5 million people have died.  More than 500,000 people are displaced in the country after their goods were looted and their houses burnt.  About 25,000 women have been raped by soldiers.  The number of orphans and widows is unknown but the number is very considerable.  Many church properties have been looted (vehicles, motorbikes, instruments.) Church houses were burnt.

Most of the people are living in a big trauma everywhere.  People do not have enough food because they usually live by growing their own food but during this long period of war and insecurity people are not working in the fields.  Many children are not at school because their parents do not have money to pay school fees for them.  Corruption is everywhere in the country.  Because of poverty, many women are selling their bodies in prostitution.  Through this way and rape by soldiers, HIV and AIDS is spreading rapidly.

What is the church doing through these sufferings?

The church is preaching the message of God’s love through his Son Jesus Christ.  The message of repentance, of forgiveness, of reconciliation and peace.  The Church is praying for the political leaders and encouraging them to stop the war.  The Church is teaching strongly about the HIV and AIDS and how to help people who are already victims and also orphans and widows.  But the Church has its limitation because of the lack of financial resources.  As a consequence of what the Church is doing, God is answering our prayers and today all rebel leaders have decided to stop the war.  They are now in the process of reconciliation and peace in the country.  There is a transitional government and after two years there will be elections.  We thank our brothers and sisters in Christ in other countries who are with us and have wept when we have wept.  Once the war comes to an end in the D R Congo, Congolese people will need to be supported by other people for the reconstruction of the country in different ways, particularly the work of the Gospel because it is the first priority in the D R Congo.

Communion in Mission 2006
The Ven Muhindo Ise-Somo
Provincial Co-ordinator of Evangelism Sept 2003