Congo-Kinshasa (MNN) — The United Nations warns of more attacks on camps housing internally-displaced people (IDP) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The agency calls on national authorities to take immediate action on behalf of these vulnerable groups.
At least 62 people were killed and 38 injured last week when armed militia raided an IDP camp in Plaine Savo. According to the UN Mission in the country (MONUSCO), the attack was carried out by members of the so-called Cooperative for the Development of the Congo (CODECO) – a loose association of various Lendu militia groups.
Helen Williams of World Missionary Press reached out to a ministry partner* who works in the camp. “He said, ‘62 people have just been buried in a mass grave’,” Williams says.
“What we saw (in the headlines) was not new to them; it is happening a lot.”
The UN recorded ten attacks on IDP camps last year, leaving 106 dead and 16 wounded. The violence appears to be driven by ethnic tensions; friction between the Hema and Lendu communities have existed for years.
According to the Norwegian Refugee Council, the Plaine Savo camp is located in Ituri province, where at least 1,200 civilians were killed last year. These “tragedies that unfold leave behind orphans and widows. Families lose their children; villages have been burned,” WMP’s partner tells Williams.
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The Plaine Savo camp is home to more than 24,000 people, while 1.7 million IDPs live in the wider province. WMP’s partner combines humanitarian work with church planting in IDP camps throughout the region.
“They are reaching to the physical needs – the fear and uncertainties, and everything – but also establishing believers and building up churches,” Williams says.
“We are one of their major partners because the literature is free. They can get it in languages [they need] and will introduce them (the booklets) to these villages.”
WMP Scripture booklets play an essential role in the ministry’s work. “The Scripture booklets are the introduction [to Christ], in many cases; it opens the door [for further ministry]. It is all Scripture, and it stays with them; it’s something they can take home and read over and over again,” Williams says.
“In many cases, it is the first time people have heard the name of Jesus. It is the first time they’ve been shown the love of Christ by someone offering them God’s Word in their language.”
Pray believers can comfort attack survivors. Pray families find hope in Jesus through WMP Scripture booklets. Help WMP send another shipment of resources to their ministry partner here.
“[Our partner] sent an order a few months ago for another shipment that we’ll send in 2022, as soon as we can get it done. If they (readers) want to give to that, make a donation and mark it for the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” Williams says.
“There are faithful people there, and they need our support and prayer.”
*Partner name and ministry details withheld for security purposes.
Header image is a 2017 photo depicting a Ukrainian member of MONUSCO in DR Congo. (Wikimedia Commons)