As millions of Americans are rushing to shopping malls for amazing deals, it’s life as normal for billions of others. And for many of those, it’s a constant state of missile attacks, military incursions, famine, and poor healthcare. Once again, the Democratic Republic of Congo is facing the horrors of yet another civil war.
The DRC is a troubled nation of 67 million people with over 250 ethnic groups. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world. The DRC’s history has been plagued with civil war and corruption for centuries. Just like the rest of Africa, they have been the victims of European exploration and exploitation, most recently by Belgium this last century. Even after achieving independence in 1960, they continually face conflict over natural resources (copper, cobalt, diamonds, gold, tantalum).
Troubles escalated following the unrest in Rwanda during the 1990’s. Rwandan rebels began spilling across the border attempting to flee the genocide taking place at home which put them at odds with the Congolose Army. Hundreds of thousands were driven from homes their homes as a result. This produced one of the greatest atrocities of our modern times with over 6 million people having been killed and over 50,000 women being raped.
Earlier this year, CNDP (the armed militia) leader, Bosco Ntaganda, and troops loyal to him rebelled and formed the M23 Movement, claiming by President Joseph Kabila. M23 captured the provincial capital, Goma, displacing large numbers of people. Several nations, particularly Rwanda, have been accused of arming and supporting the rebels in attempts to gain control of DRC’s rich resources. President Kabila has no choice but to retake Goma which will lead to more casualties. This is coupled with the humanitarian difficulty 350,000 people camped in and around Goma who fled the fighting.
We have a choice while government officials, diplomats, and military leaders argue, debate, and decide the fate of millions. As the Church, we can sigh, thinking of those “poor Africans” who are at it again. Oh, how unfortunate and what a troubled nation. But we refuse to respond with any urgency because it doesn’t really affect us. No American national interest. No personal connections. Or, we can grab a hold of God’s heart for His people. We can drop to our knees and cry out for a nation that is suffering and dying. And we can call on God to intervene and turn the DRC to Himself. How?
- For President Joseph Kabila Kabange and his administration: wisdom, compassion, courage, unity, that they’d be advised well and understand the heart of the DRC people.
- Rwanda and other external interferences (Uganda, Burundi) would cease.
- Hutu rebels would be sent back to Rwanda to face justice.
- Equitable sharing of resources from the mines to benefit local people is necessary.
- An overhaul in the Congolese Army.
- Strengthened infrastructure: that President Kabila’s government would see to his entire country’s needs and provide food, shelter, clean water, and healthcare.
- Economic recovery.
- For the violence to stop.
- That the Body of Christ would remain strong and unified.
- That the Gospel would be preached with power and authority.
- That millions would follow Christ, especially people of influence.
- Forgiveness – reconciliation not revenge.
- For healing: physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
- That the DRC would know true peace.