Nighttime armed attackers strike Congolese Salesian community

Nighttime armed attackers strike Congolese Salesian community


A Salesian community in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was violently attacked by several armed men Wednesday night.

Assailants entered the Industrial Technical Institute in the eastern city of Goma and assaulted the five Salesians living in the school. It is not known whether the attackers were common criminals or members of a rebel group, the Salesian Info Agency (ANS News) reports.

The school is not far from the headquarters of MONUC, the United Nations’ peacekeeping mission.

The community’s rector Fr. Firmin Kikoli and Brother Alonso Honorato were hospitalized for treatment of injuries received in the attack. Doctors report that their condition is not dangerously serious.

Fr. Kikoli, speaking from the hospital, reported the incident to Fr. Guilherme Basañes, the Salesian Councillor for the Africa-Madagascar Region, ANS News reports.

Writing to ANS News, Fr. Basañes expressed his support for the attacked Salesian community.

"We know how in recent times the Congregation, the Pope and the world have looked with compassion at the tragic situation of the people and the youngsters of Goma," he wrote. "Let us continue this network of closeness and solidarity asking the Holy Spirit to continue to inspire effective processes leading to justice and peace."

The community of the Industrial Technical Institute was the first Salesian foundation in Goma. The "Saint John Bosco" Institute opened in 1981 and has a secondary school, an oratory, and various pastoral activities.

The city of Goma continues to suffer instability and insecurity.