Eight Christians were murdered and many more assaulted and robbed after Congolese soldiers attacked a Church during services looking for Christians who were protesting against the government of the Congo and its current President, Joseph Kabila according to a report:
Police stormed Catholic churches and fired tear gas during Mass in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday, it has emerged, as protests organised by lay Catholic activists against the rule of president Joseph Kabila intensified and at least eight were killed.
A witness at St Michael’s Church in central Kinshasa, the capital, told AFP that officers broke up the Mass and arrested altar boys, still in their liturgical robes, who had previously been protesting against the president.
‘While we were praying, the soldiers and the police entered the church compound and fired teargas at the church,’ the witness said.
Another added: ‘People fell, first-aiders are resuscitating old ladies who have fallen’ – but all the while the priest continued saying Mass.
Meanwhile, it emerged that police had beaten and robbed Catholics when they sought refuge in his church, shooting out its stained-glass windows. The rector of Kinshasa’s St Alphonse Parish, Mgr Hugues Ndongisila, told Radio France Internationale that the bodies of two dead protesters had later been collected by the Red Cross.
The clashes, in which security forces have targeted Catholic protesters, have left at least eight dead and 120 people detained.
The December 31 protest against Kabila’s rule – which began in 2001 – was organised by the Kinshasa archdiocesan lay coordination committee. At least a dozen priests are reportedly among those detained.
Yesterday, the Congolese bishops’ conference said in a statement: ‘We condemn with utmost vigour this unjustified violence. We similarly denounce this attack on freedom of worship, which is guaranteed in every democratic state, as well as the profanation of churches and physical aggression against the faithful and their priests.’
The statement added that the bishops were ‘profoundly shocked by such ignoble acts’ and would demand a ‘serious and objective inquiry’.
And in a rare appearance before the media, Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo, wearing a red prayer cap and gold cross, accused security forces of opening fire on peaceful protesters and desecrating places of worship.
‘We can only denounce, condemn and stigmatize the actions of the supposedly valiant men in uniform, which are, unfortunately, nothing more, nothing less than barbarism,’ Monsengwo told reporters in Kinshasa.
‘How can we trust leaders incapable of protecting the population, of guaranteeing peace, justice and love of people?’ (source)