BUJUMBURA June 3rd (ABP) – The President of the Republic, Mr. Evariste Ndayishimiye received, on Thursday June 1, 2023, a delegation of the Association of Episcopal Conferences of Central Africa (ACEAC). The association Includes the Catholic Bishops of Burundi, Rwanda and the DRC. The secretary and spokesperson for that association, Father Jean Paul Badidike, indicated that this meeting was part of the term of that association to approach the leaders of States, policies and religions on issues that mean a lot to Catholic Bishops within that association. Father Badidike cited the issues of peace in the sub-region, refugees, development, the involvement of the Church in the processes of cohesion and peaceful cohabitation in the sub-region.
He said that the delegation gave the President of the Republic a memo on the security situation in eastern DRC. Thus, during their discussions on the issue, he noted, the President of the Republic reassured them that the progress of the talk satisfies at least certain number of their expectations.
The question is how to continue to convince the armed groups to lay down their arms instead of coming under fire from the regional force. It was noted during those exchanges that several armed groups agreed unconditionally to lay down their arms, with an option, after evaluation, to use force, with a view to restoring the authority of the State, Father Badidike continued to say.
According to him, such a State authority can continue to reassure all parties in the sub-region. “If there is a place where the authority of the State does not exist, it is a refuge for criminals of all kinds, who not only destabilize the DRC, but use it to destabilize the sub-region”, Father Badidike said.
Regarding the involvement of the Church for security in the sub-region, Father Badidike informed that a campaign called “Peace at the Great Lakes” will be launched by the association in the coming months. The campaign will help bring peoples and populations to carry out several advocacy missions with Heads of State.
That initiative received the approval of the President of the Republic, who promised his involvement to talk about it to the other Heads of State of the region so that they too are open to the involvement of the Church in the search for ways and means for lasting peace to be established in the sub-region, Father Badidike concluded.