D. R. of Congo: AIDS and armed groups in Kisangani

In western Congo, various armed groups are committing atrocities and spreading terror in the town of Kisangani. Two years after the Rwandese and Ugandan armies killed more than 500 people, the population continues to suffer its daily crucifixion. A massacre of civilians on 14 May 2002 (witnessed by the UN Congo mission MONUC, who did not intervene) demonstrated the cruelty that characterises the very people who declare themselves the country?s liberators. The population has now fallen into a kind of passive terror. In the light of the Gospel, the Church is trying to witness through ?acts of truth? modelled on the risen Christ, our true liberator. Only love can liberate society from violence. Giving oneself to this ideal is not always easy when your opponent has no argument other than a gun. Armed groups expect the Church to sit back and let them do their dirty deeds. But the mission we received from Christ demands that we be prophetic witnesses, so that we can represent the conscience and the hope of the people. Every day people also die of AIDS. The Church does not turn a deaf ear but is at a loss as to what to do. In the parish of Christ-Roi, AIDS is discussed openly and the Jesuits are collecting data about AIDS and sexual behaviour as part of an international effort such as the African Jesuit AIDS Network (see HL20601, www.jesuitaids.net). [HL21003]