Cablegate: Catholic Conference of Drc Condemns
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0906 2951346
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 211346Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8639
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
UNCLAS KINSHASA 000906
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL MOPS KPKO CG
SUBJECT: CATHOLIC CONFERENCE OF DRC CONDEMNS
RENEWED VIOLENCE IN EASTERN DRC
REFS: A) KINSHASA 882 B) 07 KINSHASA 842
1. (U) The Congolese Catholic Conference of Bishops ("Conference
Episcopale Nationale du Congo" - CENCO - in French) issued a
statement October 13 expressing grave concern about the resumption
of hostilities between armed groups and government forces in the
eastern part of the country. The statement condemned the use of
violence to resolve differences and advance hidden agendas. CENCO
censured in severest terms the recruitment of child soldiers as
combatants and the use of civilian populations as human shields.
The declaration was signed by Father Leonard Santedi, Secretary
General of CENCO, for the President of CENCO Monsignor Nicolas
Djomo, who is Bishop of Tshumbe.
2. (U) CENCO called on recently nominated Prime Minister Adolphe
Muzito (ref A) and his government to use the "republican army" to
re-establish state authority and protect the DRC's borders and
population. CENCO reiterated the message that the national unity
and territorial integrity of the Congo are non-negotiable and
expressed fears that the renewal of hostilities actually masked
efforts to exploit natural resources and achieve the "balkanization"
of the DRC (ref B). Adopting a warning tone, the statement declared
that the population will judge the government by its ability to
respond to the great challenges facing the country.
3. (U) CENCO appealed to the international community to compel
signatories of the Goma Agreements ("Actes d'Engagement" in French)
to respect the accords. The statement said there is no peace
without justice, and added that all religious and charitable
organizations, regardless of denomination, should demonstrate
solidarity in recognizing the suffering of victims of the conflict.
The statement referenced the inclusion of North Kivu in the Angelus
prayer delivered by Pope Benedict on October 12.
4. (SBU) Comment: The ascension of Kinshasa Archbishop Laurent
Monsengwo to the leadership of the Catholic Church in February 2008
carries the prospect of continued involvement by the influential
Catholic Church in national politics. Monsengwo, a controversial
figure who was involved in efforts to negotiate former dictator
Mobutu's exit from power in the 1990's, is considered an opponent of
President Joseph Kabila and his government, which is dominated by
politicians from the southern and eastern provinces of the DRC. At
the very least, the letter is seen by many observers as too little
and too late, particularly given the prestige of the Catholic Church
in the DRC. End Comment.