Cry for stability and peace for suffering East Congo

By February 13, 2024
Wikimedia Commons, DRC, Mutaho, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2013

Democratic Republic of Congo (MNN) — The people of the Democratic Republic of Congo continue to suffer loss of life and massive displacement as conflict rages on, especially in East Congo.

Last week, the armed group M23 blocked off main roads to the capital city of North Kivu province, cutting off its more than two million people from food sources. M23 is one of 120 armed groups present within the DRC.

Wikimedia Commons, North Kivu (dark red), Ituri (bright red)

Photo of North Kivu Province (bottom, dark red) and Ituri Province (top, bright red) courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Ben and Anna Samuelson serve with Mission Aviation Fellowship in East Congo. Ben tells us there are a multitude of reasons for the decades of violence in the DRC.

“There are still those ethnic or tribal militias or attacks that will happen against a certain other tribe. There (are) outside influencers that are trying to get access to natural resources within Congo,” Ben says.

“Congo is one of the wealthiest nations in terms of natural resources in the country, even though the people don’t ever end up seeing that wealth. But outside influencers benefit from an unstable region. There (have been) many cases of inciting militias and such to keep the region unstable for their purposes.” 

Amid lack of government support, tribes and villages create their own militias for their own causes and defense, which adds to the chaos. “Some religious extremism as well has come up and been the cause of other militia and fighting that goes on in the area,” Ben says.

The recent concentration of fighting within North Kivu may be tied to its proximity to other countries that historically have influenced the DRC, says Ben.

He adds, “With a country with as poor of (an) infrastructure as Congo, it becomes very hard to have a lot of control in the east, when all the primary governance [Kinshasa] is just under one thousand miles away in the West.”

The DRC currently has over 6.3 million displaced persons according to UNHCR. Many hope and call on President Felix Tshisekedi, who began his second term in office in January, to dramatically improve national security.

(Photo of DRC courtesy of Mission Aviation Fellowship)

“Sometimes it feels really hopeless when we read the numbers of how many displaced and how many killed,” says Anna. “(Please pray) for the elected officials, that they would have wisdom, and that they will be honest.” 

Mission Aviation Fellowship operates in Bunia, the capital city of Ituri province, which lies directly north of North Kivu and also deals with militia activity. Pray for their protection and for stability in the region.

“[Pray for the team] to not get discouraged when we hear about all this terrible stuff, but to just see the opportunities that God has placed in front of us, that this is something, this is a person that we can make a difference in their life today,” Ben says.



Header image is courtesy of MONUSCO Photos/Wikimedia Commons

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