Congolese Anglicans stranded by rebel attack

Life in other provinces of the Anglican Communion can be very difficult. Episcopal Life Online is reporting that a recent uprising of rebel activity in the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo has caused Bishop Henri Isingoma and 150 delegates of the Province de L’Eglise Anglicane du Congo to be stranded in Boga following their September 30-October 5 diocesan synod.

Fears of a fresh wave of violence have forced thousands of people in the eastern region of Africa’s third largest country “to run for their dear lives in various directions,” Frederick Ngadjole, liaison officer for the province, said in an October 5 email to the Africa desk of Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD). “Some have gone towards Bunia town, others towards [the] Ugandan border and others are still wandering in the bush trying to find their way out to a safe zone.”

The director of Africa programs for Episcopal Relief and Development was on her way to the Diocese and received the news:

Janette O’Neill, director of Africa programs for ERD, received news of the rebel activities as she was en route to Boga to visit with Isingoma and the local communities to hear about the progress made with ERD-supported micro credit, small business, malaria control and HIV/AIDS programs.

O’Neill is now traveling to Kampala, Uganda, where she will work with the Congo church liaison office to assess the immediate humanitarian needs and respond to the crisis. “I urge Episcopalians to pray for peace in Congo and for the safety of Bishop Isingoma, his wife Mugisa, and those in their care,” said O’Neill.

Isingoma and the synod delegates “have no way out as all roads are cut off,” Ngadjole said, noting that their only option is to take a diverted route to reach Bunia, a distance of about 124 miles, at their own risk. “Those coming from the invaded area have not yet heard from their families.”

Ngadjole said that the priority is to ensure that those stranded in Boga are able to find safety, food and shelter in Bunia. “Another immediate concern will be to reunite people with their families [and] to attend to thousands of people who are taking refuge in Bunia town and other gathering points in and around Bunia,” he said.

We ask your prayers for their safe return home.

Read the rest here.

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