The Anglican Church has joined efforts to bring peace in the troubled eastern Congo as regional leaders and armies search for solutions for the escalating conflict threatening the stability of the region.
Last week, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, the current chairperson of the East African Community (EAC), ordered a cessation of hostilities in the Congo.
However, as of Tuesday, the M23 rebel group was still active and trying to gain more territory from the government forces.
Following this, Anglican archbishops of Dr Stephen Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu (Uganda), the Most Rev Dr Laurent Mbanda (Rwanda) and Dr Ande Georges Titre (DR Congo), in partnership with the Interreligious Council of Uganda, which brings together all religious groups in the country, held a meeting over the ongoing crisis.
Addressing the press in Uganda’s capital Kampala on Tuesday, Dr Mugalu—Primate of Uganda and Chairperson of the Inter Religious Council of Uganda—said the prelates had resolved to call for immediate cessation of hostilities.
“We are re-affirming our commitment on peace, security and democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the East African Community at large and re-affirming the need to respect the fundamental principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter and Constitutive Act of the African Union,” he said.
The church is deeply troubled by the situation in eastern DRC given that more than 60,000 people have been rendered homeless and schools have been destroyed, and the tribal sentiments and xenophobic tendencies are threatening to drive the area into a genocide, the archbishop added.
“We acknowledge the strains and pressures that the refugee host countries and communities may be going through but we encourage them in the spirit of good neighbourliness to provide a conducive environment for their brothers and sisters who are running for their lives,” Dr Mulagu said.
The religious leaders said they feel the pain of people suffering in the region.
They re-affirmed their support for the steps being taken to integrate the DRC into the East African bloc and solve the endemic problems of its eastern region.
The meeting was also attended by Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje Mufti of Uganda and Co-Chair of African Council of Religious Leaders.
The religious leaders announced that they will invite senior religious leaders from the region, under the auspices of the East African Inter-Religious Council, to discuss a framework for accompanying the political leaders in the region towards sustainable peace.