Anglicans around the world are being asked to pray for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo as tribal violence continues to claim lives in the Ituri Province in the north-eastern area of the country. The Ituri city of Bunia is home to one of the largest UN peacekeeping forces in Africa as international troops seek to intercede between the warring Lendu and Hema peoples.
At the weekend, 26 people were killed when a Hema village 31 miles (50 km) north of Bunia was attacked by Lendu tribes people. The Rev Bisoke Balikenga, national youth coordinator of Province de L’Eglise Anglicane Du Congo – the Anglican Church of Congo – is urging Anglicans to pray for the country.
In 2016, the church established a peace centre in Bunia as part of its care for women and girls who have been raped by combatants. Bisoke, who is helping to run the centre, responded to the weekend’s violence by asking people to pray. He said that 200 houses in the Hema village were burned before residents were killed by machete, creating “a lot of trauma among the Hema.”
He said that some shops and petrol stations in Bunia had been closed and that there are “some young people who like to make chaos”. The state governor is leading a delegation to the affected area to see what is happening. “Please pray for him in order he can bring peace there in that place,” Bisoke said.
“Please pray. Please, we need your prayers,” he said.
In December, 15 UN peacekeepers from Tanzania were killed and a further 43 injured in an attack on their base in Beni, around 90 miles south of Bunia. It was the worst attack on UN peacekeepers since an attack in Mogadishu, Somalia, claimed the lives of 23 troops in 1993.The UN operations in DRC are being carried out by MONUSCO – the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.