One of the member schools in Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion (CUAC) in Africa has been affected by the fighting in Congo.
Despite being 250 miles north from the fighting in Goma, the Université Anglicane du Congo experienced its first attack since its opening two years ago. The Revd Canon Daniel Sabiti Tibafa, the university vice chancellor, has sent the following report:
“Yes, the morning night of 22 December 2013 at around 2:00 am, armed people broke the door of our house threatening to kill all of us if we did not have any money on us. They forced the door with heavy stones…and the guns to destroy the lock of the door. In the house we managed to get $200 and they forced me to take them into my office where we got another $250. They beat me on the back and on my right hand. The right hand pain is still being dealt with by our lovely nurse Miss Kiiza Kahwa.
“Everybody at the university was mobilized to help us in the house, but could not come near us because of the bullets they fired mercilessly on both of us and them. We were nine people, i.e., my wife Damalie, our boys Emmanuel and Kefa, and the girls, Nyangoma, Winnie, Esther, Mave and Adah. All of us would have lost our lives was it not the mercy of God on us! Praise be to Him! They entered our bedroom throwing bitter words on us to give money or else to die. Traces of 7 bullets were found in our house and other 4 fired outside to keep away the members of the community, students and members of staff. One hour after, the police being called by Revd Martin, the Academic secretary, came to realize what was there.
“In spite of this incident, the university is still doing its work. As you know already, we organized five faculties in our university: Theology, Administration and Economic Sciences, Psychology and Education Sciences, Polytechnic (Civil Engineering) and Sciences (Mines and Geology). This academic year we will have about 70 students, of whom 11 from the theological faculty are graduating after their third year at university in the undergraduate level.
“We also are happy to say that we have now produced two more doctors in theology, having finished in May and July 2012 in the Protestant University of Congo, Kinshasa. These are Revd Dr Yossa Way in Missiology and Revd Dr Kahwa Njojo in New Testament Theology. Ven. Sadiki Kangamina Christopher is also doing his PhD in Old Testament Theology at the Shalom University of Bunia. Revd Kamana Niyonzima is also doing his graduate studies at the same university in Missiology as well. We thank God for that.”
CUAC’s General Secretary, the Revd Canon James Callaway, was present two years ago at the laying of the university’s foundation stone by Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams. Upon hearing of the attack, Canon Callaway noted: “The Anglican University has been a force for knitting community back together after the years of conflict in Congo, bringing together former victims and men who were drawn into the militias. As such it has been a vital force for peace, which now more than ever needs our support to continue.”
Professor Sabiti reported that the attack spared the recently-installed Internet classroom, equipped last November under a grant from Trinity Church Wall Street, USA. Especially with a meagre library, this facility makes it possible for the university to keep up-to-date in information and in research, especially through the newly-initiated research Department, Centre de Recherche Interfacultaire de l’UAC, and the new Research Review called LUMEN: Revue Interfacultaire. Construction of a block of four lecture rooms under the sponsorship of the UK Congo Church Association continues, with roofing completed and installation of flooring underway.
The war has not reached Bunia at present. Professor Sabiti said, “The only problem is the presence of the hors la loi entering people’s houses at night, killing and robbing goods and money. They are really creating insecurity in this town. There also the militiamen between Bunia and Boga in the Lendu Region who keep on looting people on the way in a sporadic way. We are really very sad about what is happening in and in the surrounding of Goma City in the North-Kivu Province. Please pray for our country and especially in this eastern part of the country. We need peace and freedom to work and to enjoy the wealth that our dear Father gave us here in our country, unfortunately smuggled by the outside.”
On 14-15 December 2012 the second Administrative Council of the University met in Bunia, chaired by His Grace the Most Revd Henri Isingoma, Archbishop of the Province de L’Église Anglicane Du Congo and President of the university. Professor Sabiti concluded, “Without any doubt, the university is still functioning. Activities resume on 7th of January 2013, God willing. Please pray for us as usual, because the Evil One never stops to haunt us with his bitter arrows of affliction.”