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[VIDEO] TSHISEKEDI’S MILITIA: Rogue UDPS Supporters Destroy Catholic Church In Kasumbalesa In Pursuit Of Cardinal Ambongo & Catholic Priests For Inaugurating Parish In Katumbi’s Village

Hired rogue elements of the ruling party have fueled the already rising tension in the country after they descended on the Catholic church in the border town of Kasumbalesa pursing Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo and other Catholic priests with the intention to harm them for launching a new parish in Ensemble pour la Republique leader Moise Katumbi’s village.

With six months before the elections, tension is mounting across the country. On Sunday June 18, the parish of Saint Jacques de Galilée in Kasumbalesa was the scene of violence orchestrated by the UDPS militia against the Bishops of CENCO. Coming from Lubumbashi where they were gathered, the bishops were welcomed stone throwing youths organized to do battle with them. Faced with these sacrilegious acts, the community of Katangese Christians is in a rage.

The outcry is general throughout Katanga! At Kasumbalesa, amazement is followed by anger. On June 18, 2023, the hotheads of the UDPS violently attacked the Catholic Bishops of CENCO on a pastoral visit to the border town. Cries, jostling, throwing stones, insults, everything happened. The incident was extraordinary. Especially since it was an action directed not towards politicians but towards the Princes of the Church, the successors of Peter, who, the day before, had taken part in Kashobwe, in Upper Katanga, in the dedication ceremonies of the brand new Saint Michel Church by Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo.

“These young people paid by the power of Kinshasa are attacking our Bishops because they have been to the village of Moïse Katumbi who is scaring President Tshisekedi “, affirms a mother from the parish of Kasumbalesa who cannot believe it. that clergymen were taken to task in his city. “ It’s a tribal militia. Its members are all from Kasai Oriental. They have a feeling of impunity and are encouraged by Baluba politicians who spend their time celebrating and dancing in Kinshasa ,” said a young customs official.

Katangese civil society did not fail to react vigorously to the excesses of the UDPS militia. In Lubumbashi, the president of the Katangaise Foundation, Raphaël Mututa did not fail to shout his indignation at the incidents of Kasumbalesa. ” These acts of violence are planned by the enemies of peace, unity and national cohesion ,” he said, asking the provincial authority to take all measures to stop the haemorrhage of violence that shake the province.

The Katangese youth, meanwhile, made virulent remarks. “ If the Baluba of Kasaï want to drive out the Bishops, let them return to their home in Mbuji Mayi to do so. They will have the curse on them ,” says one of the youth leaders. “ Here, we respect the Church and our Bishops, and we no longer accept being the victims of the Kasaians from Mbuji Mayi who believe they are on conquered ground with us ”.

Within the Catholic Church, the initial consternation gave way to measured reactions. The Bishops recall that the role of the Church is to bear the suffering of the Congolese people as Christ accepted on the cross to bear all the suffering of the world. ” But we will not leave the Congolese people in despair “, says an abbot who adds that ” Despite all the provocations of which we know the sponsors, we will continue to work for reconciliation “.

In an interview, Monsignor Nshole, Secretary General of CENCO noted that “ it is for the first time that at this stage, we can experience such tensions. We have already denounced the way in which the opposition marches were violently suppressed. We have seen the restriction of freedom of movement for opponents. All of this is worrying. We are worried, but we hope things will turn out for the best ,” he said.

“The Catholic Church, an enemy to be defeated”

Among the recent provocations of the power of Kinshasa vis-à-vis the Catholic Church, we must note the obstacles posed by the regime of Felix Tshisekedi to the trips of the Apostolic Nuncio. The watchwords were given to several airlines not to charter their planes for the arrival of the Pope’s representative in Katanga. Faced with this pressure, all refused to make their jet available to Monsignor Balestrero. The latter had to resolve to travel from Katanga on board a propeller plane. Now the Catholic Church is considered by the power of Kinshasa as an adversary to be defeated.

If the papal visit delighted all the Congolese, this is far from being the case for those in power in Kinshasa. The arrival of Pope Francis was only a very temporary truce between the Congolese regime and the representatives of the Church. “ Felix Tshisekedi and his friends want to do battle with the Catholic Church and silence Cardinal Ambongo,” says a service agent who fears the consequences to which this open front will lead. “We already have enough political opposition to alienate all of us Christians. We know where that led Joseph Kabila and his family , ”continues our interlocutor.

Enough is enough

The Congolese are waiting to see where the new showdown will lead between the Church of Pope Francis, which affirms every day more its determination to fight to save the Congolese people abandoned to their sad fate from the claws of selfishness, greed and of widespread corruption and the regime of Félix Tshisekedi, locked in its logic of repression and organization of fraudulent elections.

CENCO refuses to engage headlong into a confrontation. However, the Bishops no longer hide their concerns. At this stage of the process of democratization and organization of the next elections, ” if along the way, we realize that it is taking another direction, well, I believe that we are going to reconsider our way of supporting “, concludes Monsignor Nshole.

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