The Audacity of Peace in Goma, Bukavu and Uvira: an appeal for peace from Congo, a tormented land

On 28 October, in the wake of the Day of Prayer and Fasting for peace in the Holy Land called by Pope Francis and the anniversary of the 1986 World Day of Prayer in Assisi, the Communities of Sant'Egidio in Goma, Bukavu and Uvira organised meetings for dialogue among the Christian denominations and the various religious faiths coexisting in the provinces of North and South Kivu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, on the theme, 'The audacity of peace'.
The Kivu region on the DRC's eastern borders is plagued by a long-lasting conflict characterised by ethnic tensions. Sometimes they appear to be motivated by religious reasons and can be very risky. Therefore, it was a significant initiative to gather Catholic and Protestant, Anglican and Orthodox representatives around the same table, together with Muslims, Bahai and civil society leaders, as well as government authorities.
At a time marked by the ongoing dramatic international conflicts such as in Ukraine and the Holy Land, the fragile political situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where presidential elections are approaching next December, is of growing concern also due to worsening tensions with neighbouring countries. 
The number of IDPs throughout the country has climbed to 6.9 million, an unprecedented record as the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) announced just today.  

The meetings organised by Sant'Egidio are thus of special value. The presence of so many religious representatives and the vast participation testify to the widespread and deep-rooted 'hunger for peace', particularly among those who have lost their homes and families, fleeing war and now living in extreme poverty in refugee camps on the outskirts of cities.