The continuation of violence in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is having an impact on much-needed emergency relief operations there. The United Nations has advised humanitarian groups to withdraw their staff working in the volatile region. Several members of the group Action by Churches Together, including the Church of Christ in Congo (ECC), of which the Disciples community in Congo is a founding member, are working in the areas where the fighting has intensified.
The last Congo war, which killed 5.4 million people, mostly from disease and starvation, officially ended in 2003, but hostilities continue today. A delegation from the Indiana Regional Church, which included General Minister and President Sharon Watkins, visited the Congo in May and heard first-hand accounts about the war from Congolese women. This is "a war that is a derivative of the Rwanda genocide, a derivative of the world’s generations-long grab of Congolese resources. Rape has been a weapon of this war, leaving women maimed and often divided from their families by shame, needing a skill to support themselves," Watkins wrote in her diary of the trip. Read Sharon Watkins’ Congo Diary.