AFRICA/CONGO DR - The priests and nuns arrested on February 16 have been released, when a march was blocked organized by lay Catholics

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) – The three priests and two nuns who were arrested on February 16 in Kinshasa, capital of Democratic Republic of Congo have been released. This is confirmed to Fides by the local Church from Kinshasa. The priests and nuns were preparing to participate in the march to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the massacre of the faithful which took place on February 16, 1992, when a march organized by Christian churches to ask for democracy was violently repressed by the forces of President Mobutu. "The initiative was taken by the Conseil de l'Apostolat des Laics Catholiques Congolais (CALCC) but not from the hierarchy, even if they priests and men and women religious participated " state the sources of Fides, which give an account of the brutality used to stop the court. "The march was blocked in the bud", say our sources. "The faithful who were gathering in some parishes to then converge at the event were brutally attacked by the police. A few priests and nuns were arrested, and then the police launched tear gas. At least in one parish the young 'Kulunas' (belonging to a criminal gang) intervened, who severely started beating the faithful, causing injuries". "Given that the political opposition is weak, it is feared that the Church carries out political opposition, repeating what happened in 1992 with the then-President Mobutu" explain sources of Fides. From February 15 to 17 the signal of the Radio and Television of the Archdiocese of Kinshasa had been blocked on the orders of the Ministry of Communications. The DRC is going through a particularly tense moment after the disputed presidential and legislative elections (won by the outgoing President Joseph Kabila). In this climate there are even disturbing signs towards the Church Catholic, as evidenced by the killing of Sister Liliane Mapalayi, of the congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Jesus, stabbed to death on February 2 in Eastern Kasai. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 20/2/2012)