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[VIDEO] SECRET SERVICE TARGET CATHOLIC PRIEST IN LUBUMBASHI: Tshisekedi Sends ANR To Capture Archbishop Muteba In A Bid To Silence Catholics Ahead Of Polls

Lubumbashi was yesterday gripped with fear when a battalion of Congo’s secret service, ANR, agents and army personnel in the company of two white men suspected to be Russians swarmed the city’s cathedral in search of Archbishop Fulgence Muteba Mugalu.

The soldiers arrived on the first Friday of lent in search of Archbishop Muteba who has been critical of the electoral process, particularly highlighting alleged malpractices in the on-going registration of voters for the December 20, 2023 presidential and parliamentary elections.

Archbishop Muteba commands significant influence in Katanga as he oversees the archdiocese of Lubumbashi and other towns like Likasi and the territory of Kambove which collectively has a population of Catholic faithfuls in excess of 1.5 million Congolese.

Although the ANR legion did not go away with Archbishop Muteba from the Cathedral of Lubumbashi, the visit has riled the population with a coalition of civil society organizations demanding an apology from President Felix Tshisekedi.

The statement was signed by more than five civil society organizations which include the Christian Organization for the Defense of Human Rights and Social Development (OCDHDS), Training Center for the Promotion of Mining Governance (CFPG), Women’s Initiative for Self-Development (IFADEV), The League of Young Intellectuals for Orientation (LIJILO), Convention for local economic development and mining governance (CDEG), Rural Project of Community Education and Animation for Development (PRECAD) and Citizen Action for Good Governance, (ACBG).

Others are the Center for the Development of Women (CDF), Youth Work Protector (YWP), Humanism and Human Rights (HDH), Alpha Congo, Rapid Action Development (ARD), Integration and Assistance Program (PDI) and Future Generation (GF).

“On the first Friday of Lent, we, the civil society of Congo denounce the invasion this [yesterday] morning of a group of heavily armed terrorists, dressed in Republican Guard uniforms with two white men who are subjects of an unknown nationality on the respected Cathedral of Lubumbashi,” the statement reads.

The civil society organizations states that after a thorough analysis of the impromptu and an unwelcome visit, it had concluded that the ambush by soldiers, ANR agents and white intruders suspected to be Russians, was an act of intimidation aimed at silencing critical and influential voices. This, according to CSO officials, was done by the leadership of President Tshisekedi as the country prepares for elections in December.

There were five 4×4 vehicles filled with heavily armed soldiers who tried to force their way into the gigantic structure in the center of the city.

When bikers, pedestrians and other curious onlookers were alerted and crowds started forming, the group of soldiers which the civil society described as “terrorists” pretended to have visited the church to collect information about future masses as the secret service was preparing for an unscheduled visit by President Tshisekedi.

The coalition of CSO say the claim by the secret service was false and accused them of violating the rights of Archbishop Muteba and interfering with the sanctity of the church.

They have appealed to Katangese to stay alert and be ready to fend off any force or intimidating tactics that the government is deploying in a bid to steal the election.

“To the Presidency, we demand that it respects the procedure of the Catholic Church for requesting Mass and also render an unreserved apology to Archbishop Fulgence MUTEBA for the invasion,” the statement further reads.

“To all the daughters and sons of Katanga, we ask you to remain vigilant and alert during this period. We must no longer stand idly. The situation is serious. We appeal once again to His Excellency the President of the Republic, Head of State and say to the political-administrative and judicial authorities that no one is above the law.”

Katangese have a strong message to the government in Kinshasa that should the election be rigged, they were ready to secede in order to govern themselves.

Church leaders like Archbishop Muteba who is based in the country’s second largest city after the capital Kinshasa carry a lot of influence and is vocal about human rights abuses, corruption and poverty which makes the government of President Tshisekedi unpopular.

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