Dehonian orphanage attacked in midst of attempted land-grab

Dehonian orphanage attacked in midst of attempted land-grab

The Priests of the Sacred Heart have been in Kisangani (DR Congo) since 1897. They have been a constant presence to the people of Congo in the midst of conflict, and even war, a war that claimed the lives of 29 SCJs in 1964.
 
For many years, that presence has included a 75-hectare piece of land (approximately 185 acres), a parcel that was originally far from the city center of Kisangani.
 
“But with the rural exodus, now the city has grown close to the SCJs’ land and many people want it for their own use,” said Fr. Floribert Bulo Dhelo, SCJ, provincial secretary of the Congolese Province. Fr. Floribert is currently studying in the ECS program at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology.
 
Located on the SCJs’ land is the philosophy scholastic for the province, as well as the Saint Laurent and Saint Bakhita Center which takes in and cares for abandoned and orphaned children. On October 9, a group of 40 people armed with machetes, iron bars, sticks and firearms attacked the center.
 
“That day, they were ruthless, said Fr. Floribert. “They beat and injured several children, and beat up members of the center’s staff.” The attackers remained on the property through the next day. “During that time, they vandalized, broke and stole items from the center. The children had to be moved for three days, seeking refuge with the governor of the province…

“It was thanks to the intervention of the population, of the neighborhood youth, that the group that attacked the center in October eventually left.
 
“May God help us! Please keep the people of Kisangani in your prayers.”
 
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