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bullet From Father Willibrord Kamion Bhia, SVD
bullet From Father Romeo Cagatin, SVD

Situation in the DRC

From: Kamion Wilibrord
Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 6:46 AM

Dear Fr. Sunny,

Warm greetings from Congo. Thank you very much for your message. I am sorry for this late reply due to lots of movements here. We are fine and doing well in our ministries. There is no particular news from the province here as we are in the routine of day to day life in our parishes, formation houses and other specialized apostolate.

You have heard about the war in Congo and fall of the city of Goma on the 20th of November 2012. It is true that it happened. Our confreres are not in danger about the war so far because we are living and working far from the war zone. The war is in Far East of Congo about thousands kilometers from the region we are working in. indeed, the SVD in Congo are working in 3 dioceses namely: Kinshasa, Kenge and Kikwit. Those 3 dioceses are in the Western part of Congo, precisely in the capital city and in the Bandundu province. However, we have one confrere working in the diocese of Kole in the central part of Congo. He is Fr. Horst Petry who remained there since the collapsed of the Mobutu’s regime. Fr. Horst Petry has already received his transfer from Congo to Germany. Our contract with Kole diocese expired at the end of October 2012. We have only Fr. Cagatin Romeo, SVD who is working with the Jesuit Refugee service in the East of the Congo. As he is not directly link to the SVD-CNG province, we don’t have direct contact with him; and we don’t have news about him. But we hope he is fine since the fall of Goma was done without real fighting. We ask only for confreres all over the world to pray for peace in Congo by interceding for all countries and parties who are fuelling this war and insecurity in Congo to stop their invasion which is motivated by lucrative interest of our natural resources.

Yours in the Divine Word,

Willibrord Kamion Bhia, SVD

From: Romeo Cagatin
Sent: Wednesday, November 21,20123:27 PM

Greetings from Kibuye, Rwanda!

As you might have seen on TV and heard on the radio, the situation in Northh-Kivu these few days has become worst. After a couple days of fighting, the city of Goma fell into the rebel group called M23 (you may need to google it to know its history). With two colleagues from Spain, we tried to stay in Goma as long as we could; but yesterday morning (Tuesday Nov 20), we had to leave Goma and crossed the border to Rwanda. One hour after we left, the city of Goma fell into the hands of M23 (many believed to have been strongly supported by Rwanda).

To leave Goma was a very hard decision to make because we have left behind our local staff and also international staff (working in Masisi and Mweso). Our hearts were with them thinking that if things went nasty, we might not see some of them on our return. Fortunately, things didn't turn badly as we've imagined. Everybody is sound and safe ..

Now we are in Kibuye, in one of the JRS houses in Rwanda. Never before i feel like a refugee, but of course the big difference is that, my companions and I are high profile refugees (ha ha ha!). We don't live in a camp.

The situation seems to have come down a bit now. But soldiers of the congolese army, humiliated by their defeat, are running amock. They steal all they could get and terrorise the people. Some of our staff in Mweso were already victimised. They have become more dangerous than the M23.

What happened in Goma these past few days caught everybody by surprise. Nobody expected that Goma could fell into the hands of M23 that fast. Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise to spare lives and bloodbath. We had planned many things but now everything just disappear into thin air. It might take some time to able to start our activities normally.

I might return to Goma tomorrow to see how things are in the Country Office and most especially meet the staff. I fly to the Philippines for my home vacation on Friday Nov 23.

All the best!