Trouble is brewing between DRC military and Catholic church which wields more influence in the politics of the troubled mineral rich country.
Reports emerging indicate that on February 24, heavily armed Republican Guard Soldiers stormed the residence of Archbishop of Lubumbashi, Monsignor Fulgence Muteba Mugalu and also searched Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral looking for him.
Monsignor Muteba has written a memo demanding answers from the government why heavily armed soldiers humiliated him by searching the place of worship including his residence without any search warrant.
He said that it was a convoy of twelve heavily armed military vehicles, which he identified as being from the Republican Guard.
“These armed men asked to enter the cathedral. The priest of this sacred place asked them to show a search warrant, they did not have. They insisted on gaining access to the cathedral at all costs. The priest conceded, believing they had my permission. Without the slightest respect for a place of worship, they inspected the cathedral from top to bottom. Throughout this impromptu inspection, they kept asking very embarrassing questions to the priest of the cathedral”, explains Monsignor Muteba.
“The military invasion of the Archdiocese and the disrespectful inspection of the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul constitute a double violation: that of the home and that of a place of worship. This double offense is punishable by the laws.”
“I condemn in the strongest terms the invasion of the armed squadron in my official residence and at the cathedral”, he noted.
Monsignor Muteba demands clear answers to all the questions and concerns raised by the presence of the armed squadron at his residence and at the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral.
He says he expects from the public authorities, the condemnation, and above all a public apology from the perpetrators of “these criminal acts and exemplary sanctions against these troops.”
As a reminder, on February 24, 2023, the Archdiocese of Lubumbashi had sounded the alarm over a failed kidnapping of Metropolitan Archbishop Muteba. This alert followed the presence of elements of the Republican Guard at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul.
For its part, the Republican Guard reacted, justifying the presence of its soldiers for training reasons with instructors on the protection of high personalities in public environments.
According to the same source, there was no question of the archbishop being kidnapped in broad daylight.