[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] A new peace centre is being established in Bunia by the provincial youth department of the Province de L'Eglise Anglicane Du Congo (the Anglican Church of Congo). It is providing care to girls and women who have been raped as part of the ongoing conflict in the region, and also to young people. Rebels are using rape as a weapon of war. The majority of the 79 women and child rape victims being cared for by a member of the church in Bavi are aged between 13 and 15; but the youngest is just three-and-a-half-years-old and the oldest is 60. Some have needs that the church is unable to help with.
The Revd Bisoke Balikenga, the Anglican Church of the Congo’s youth department national co-ordinator, said that there was no peace in Bavi, where rebels are “still making a lot of chaos”. He said that the victims had all received medical care from the international agency Médecins Sans Frontières; but were “still suffering with the culture regulation” in the area. “They are now neglected by the community which make them to be traumatised, and isolated,” he said. “They need some activities like business.”
The youth department is providing continued assistance through its peace centre “in order [that] they have some hope for the future,” Balikenga said. They are also providing training with practical skills and need material for the long-term future of the skills operation.
The peace centre is a new initiative of the Youth department in Province. They have been provided with an office base in Bunia and are now seeking to equip and secure it to make it a usable base from which to care for the rape victims.
“Please pray for our country, “Balikenga said. “We know you are praying for us. If we have now peace, it is because of your prayers.”