"Since July 2016 the conflict between traditional Chief Jean-Prince Kamwina-Nsapu Pandi and the authorities of central Kasai province has taken a tragic dimension that goes far beyond its original outbreak and now affects different communities of Kasai", says a statement sent to Agenzia Fides, of the Episcopal Provincial Assembly of Kananga.
The clashes and the violence committed by Kamwina-Nsapu followers,
killed by the police in August 2016, "caused the death of hundreds of
people, including many young people and children, with systematic
violations of fundamental human rights, the destruction of public
infrastructure", the Bishops say. Inhabitants of several villages roam
in forests without assistance, while several young people and children,
left to themselves, "are exploited and recruited as protagonists of the
Violence did not spare the Church: "churches, hospitals, health centers,
schools and church property were looted".
The causes of the crisis, according to the Bishops, are due to "poor
management of administrative matters on behalf of the traditional power
that has been manipulated and politicized".
Once violence began, police repression "created a popular movement of
resistance that goes beyond the original framework of the problem", say
the Bishops, who point out that violence is committed not only by
Kamwina-Nsapu followers, but also by people in search of personal
vendetta and criminals who "rob peaceful citizens and loot
In order to end the violence, the Bishops ask the police to act
professionally to protect citizens and their property; politicians to
make peace gestures and prosecute perpetrators of crimes; to traditional
leaders to prevent young people to enlist in the militias.
personnel and lay faithful are asked to pray for peace, reciting daily
prayers in the parishes for the 125 years of evangelization.
finally decreed that Lent is to be consecrated to prayer for the dead
and peace in Kasai, and have organized a fundraiser for the displaced.