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Religious denounce ‘senseless’ killings in Democratic Republic of the Congo

Soldiers in Beni, a city in the Democratic Republic of Congo (AP Photo/Joseph Kay)

Kidnappings and killings in the Democratic Republic of the Congo must stop, religious congregations working in the country have said.

Hundreds of innocent children and adults have been kidnapped and “butchered” in night raids by armed men in the north-eastern area of Beni, said a written statement by members of the general councils of 10 religious orders and congregations that are present in the Diocese of Butembo-Beni.

The nature of the killings “is heinous, inhuman and senseless”, they wrote in a joint statement published by Vatican Radio.

Villages have been pillaged while “victims were killed brutally with machetes, knives or axes”, it said. Women, even those who were pregnant, “were raped and disemboweled”, it said.

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced by the wave of violence, which began in October and spread to the Diocese of Bunia in January. The displacement and unrest have led to food shortages, interrupted schooling and health care services, and the upheaval or destruction of families, the statement said.