Area: 2,345,410 sq km
Congo contains most of the Congo River system and much of the vast Central African rainforest.
Population: 67,827,495 Annual Growth: 2.80%
Official language: French. Trade languages Lingala/Bangala in north and northwest, Swahili in east and south, Tshiluba in centre and Kikongo/Tuba in west Languages: 217 All languages
Largest Religion: Christian
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The evils of Congos tragic history must be overcome through repentance and reconciliation.
a) Arabs and Belgiums King Leopold II enslaved and looted the country in the 19th Century. The latters private empire in Congo probably halved the population, leading to the deaths of 10 million people in 30 years before the Belgian government took over in 1908.
b) Belgian colonial rule and international mining companies exploited Congos resources but neglected the people most of the improvements came through extensive Protestant and Catholic efforts.
c) Interventions by foreign powers and, latterly, African countries often with selfish motives. The Wests propping up of Mobutus corrupt regime is, in large part, the cause of the present chaos.
d) Inter-ethnic hostility during the 1990s led to warfare, killings and many fleeing for their lives in Shaba in the south and the Great Lakes in the east and northeast. Hutu and Tutsi ethnic militias, of both Congolese and foreign origin, still roam the Great Lakes region, terrorizing the populace and perpetuating violence, destruction and terror.
The evils of the past need to be admitted, repented of and put right for the Congo to have a viable future. Some Christian groups in Belgium have offered identificational repentance for the predations of their country, a positive development.
The wars of the 1990s and following embroiled the military forces of seven nations and provoked the rise of local inter-ethnic conflicts and warlords. None of these forces and factions had Congos best interests at heart. Most foreign forces have withdrawn, although Rwandan troops often cross the border to pursue rebels. Many militias are still at large, and the ravages of war must still be repaired. Pray earnestly for:
a) Hostilities to cease and peace to take hold. Now, only the eastern Kivu and northeastern areas remain unstable with regular violence, a patchwork of rebel forces and militias. Pray for international bodies, regional governments and the woefully inadequate DRC army and police to act with justice, decisiveness, wisdom and authority in making and keeping peace. The UN peacekeeping force (MONUSCO) is large but impossibly overstretched in its new remit to help rebuild Congo.
b) Illegal forces to be disarmed and disbanded. Most militias have devolved into little more than personal armies of dangerous warlords, wreaking terror upon an innocent and helpless populace far from the safety of government or international forces. Included among these are the Lords Resistance Army (from Uganda) and countless groups in the provinces of Kivu, Maniema and Orientale, including PARECO, CNDP, FDLR, FNI, Simba, Mai-Mai Simba, Mai-Ami Kapopo, Mai-Mai Yakutumba, others. Providing jobs and even basic needs as incentives for these desperate men to lay down their arms is a great challenge. Pray for these men to be convicted and disillusioned with this life and for those continuing to perpetrate such violence to be stopped. Pray for past and present warlords and war criminals to be stopped and brought to justice.
c) The return of the 1.7 million displaced people to their homes. Around 1.3 million people in the east of the country alone have been uprooted. Life in refugee camps is miserable and uncertain. Those interned are vulnerable to militia attacks, disease and sexual predation, and they live with little or no resources for anything beyond mere survival.
d) The cessation of war crimes and exploitation of the conflict. Untold horrors have been committed against many thousands of innocents. Rape is routinely used as a weapon of fear, as are mutilation and torture. Stealing cattle the portable wealth of many tribes is a normal activity for militias, as is illicit mining of diamonds and other resources to be sold to unscrupulous foreign buyers. Pray for an end to such evils.
For an additional 6 Challenges for Prayer see Operation World book, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.
The Operation World book, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM provide far more information and fuel for prayer for the people of Congo-DRC.