On 29 August 2016, the Apostolic Nuncio to the DRC, Monsignor Luis Mariano Montemayor, and the Head of the UN Peacekeeping Mission to the DRC (MONUSCO), Maman Sidikou, visited Beni, the scene of massive killings of innocent civilians in North Kivu.
Monsignor Mariano and Sidikou took the opportunity to visit the localities of Rwangoma and Mbelu where more than 50 civilians were butchered to death on 13 August 2016 in the worst killing ever witnessed in Beni. The visiting delegation was walked through the scene of the killings by Beni’s municipal commissioner, thereby enabling the Nuncio to pray that God will give the victims “eternal peace”. Monsignor Mariano and the Bishop of Butembo then held a short ceremony in remembrance of all those killed in Beni since 2014.
Concluding the visit, the Pope’s representative stated “We must do better. MONUSCO’s mandate for the protection of the population should not be sacrificed for other missions, no matter how important”. He further underscored “MONUSCO cannot do it all alone. It will take political will from the government to do better and the involvement of other components of the society”.
It is worth mentioning Pope Francis denounced the “shameful silence” of the international community to the killing in Beni.
Sidikou on his part stressed “for MONUSCO, statements, compassion…all that is no longer enough”. The UN Secretary General Special Representative added “It is obvious that a different strategy will need to be devised with the DRC army, as all we have been doing is count the dead. This has got to stop”.
Beni has been the scene numerous massacres since October 2014 that have left in total more than a thousand civilians dead. The ADF Ugandan rebels, operating in the DRC for more than 20 years now, have been responsible of most of the attacks, although the DRC army was also said to be involved in some. Which the government sternly denied.