DRC: Residents celebrate Easter in war-torn province
In the Rutshuru province, many Christians looked as gloomy as the sky on Good Friday.
Despite the big celebrations of the Easter Triduum, Congolese from the eastern part of DRC were not in the mood.
The M23 rebel group who fights the army in the North-Kivu province forced over 36,000 to flee within the country.
According to the UN, over 10,000 left the area towards Uganda.
If the end of clashes in some localities has brought back some villagers, others never left in the first place and were glad they survived the fighting.
“Most people ran away but we stayed here. That is why we are also happy to celebrate Easter. We thank God again for giving us the strength to stay alive until now.“
“We thank our parish priest who has just arrived, we thought he was dead. He brought us the Eucharist. May God be praised with the Easter celebration. We had fled Rutshuru but we have just returned, we have seen our priest, we are happy. “
Unlike her many Rutushuru residents were barred many from gathering because of the state of siege and the curfew.
In his Easter address, Pope Francis remembered war victims in the DRC and prayed for peace to reign.
Soothing words for Catholic Hatengekimana Innocent: “We would like to go and celebrate with the Pope when he arrives in Kibumba but we don’t know if we will be able to. If God wills it and gives us the breath of life, we will be able to celebrate with the Pope too.“
If the 23rd March (M23) rebellion said it would withdraw from villages that came under its control, the group hadn’t retreated from all captures localities.
In eastern DRC, humanitarian aid is still needed and populations, traumatized.