We received news of trouble in Gemena, DRC from a good friend there.
A few years ago when I was there for a visit, soldiers had taken over the airport. Now that could sound a bit ominous, and in terms of being an indicator of stability for the region, it was an indicator that peace was a precarious commodity. The soldiers were, however, at that moment only living there. Of course that meant that the airport was pretty well trashed. Soldiers are not know for looking after the yards or properties of temporary dwellings.
While I was there these same soldiers moved from the airport to one of the schools that was by then closed for the year. Not a good thing – it is unlikely they left the school in good condition if they left it at all.
Now these soldiers are causing havoc in the city of Gemena. They shot one of the churche’s drivers on his way back from a visit as he was driving a church leader to a nearby village. They stopped him at the usual place where they set up a roadblock and just shot him. I have no idea of the cause. Armed teenagers do not always need a reasonable cause.
The people of the city and of the church are pretty upset. So they have been gathering in large numbers in protest. And on the way back from one of the funeral events, the crowd came upon two soldiers guarding a stalled truck blocking the road. The soldiers apparently panicked and shot into the crowd killing a boy of 12, the son of one of the church deacons.
These people have suffered so much. How they react could make a huge difference in the fate of this city. Pray that God will have mercy on all of them. Pray that they will have mercy with each other.