Fighting Erupts in Mbandaka – Home of the Community of Disciples of Christ in Congo
Fighting has erupted in the city of Mbandaka located in the Equator Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It has been reported by our partners on the ground, as well as National Public Radio, that early Sunday morning (April 4, 2010), while many parishioners participated in Easter morning services, that more than 200 armed soldiers in opposition to government authorities entered the city by river and clashed with government and United Nation troops.
It was reported that some of the troops seized control of the Mbandaka airport while others took control of the city of Mbandaka and its communication networks. Earlier portrayed as an ethnic conflict over fishing rights, the invasion of Mbandaka brings to light the suffering of people in the Equator province that has been silenced by the Kabila government over the past seven or eight months.
In a telephone conversation with a partner on the ground, the Africa Executive learned that church parishioners remained in churches overnight to avoid being caught in the crossfire. Rev Bonanga Eliki, President of the Community of Disciples of Christ Community is currently traveling in the interior of the country with a German group.
The true number of casualties is not yet known. It has been reported by the news agency that one Ghanaian UN soldier was killed and that another person died of a heart attack.
The Africa Office will closely monitor the situation and send out updates as information is received. Please keep our partners in prayer as anything that happens in Mbandaka will directly affect them.
Until the office can prepare user-friendly background information on the conflict, one can read the very informative article located at: http://dissidentvoice.org/2009/12/belgian-paratroopers-to-crush-rising-congo-rebellion/ Belgian Paratroopers to Crush Rising Congo Rebellion? : Rwandan Defense Forces Flown into Western Congo Defeated; Kabila Regime Under Siege on Multiple Fronts by Keith Harmon Snow / December 8th, 2009