United Methodist health centers looted by Mai-Mai rebels

Mai-Mai rebels looted two United Methodist health centers in the Kibombo and Kasongo districts in Samba, Democratic Republic of Congo, in January. Nurses at the centers said the rebels took 26 mattresses, eight batteries, four converters and four microscopes. Photo by Judith Osongo Yanga, UMNS.
Mai-Mai rebels looted two United Methodist health centers in the Kibombo and Kasongo districts in Samba, Democratic Republic of Congo, in January. Nurses at the centers said the rebels took 26 mattresses, eight batteries, four converters and four microscopes. Photo by Judith Osongo Yanga, UMNS.

Mai-Mai rebels looted two United Methodist health centers in the Kibombo and Kasongo districts late last month, stealing all of the centers’ medicine and mattresses and kidnapping a nurse to treat their wounded. 

The rebels released the nurse, who was on duty at Kibombo United Methodist Health Center, a week later — after The United Methodist Church and the civil society of Kibombo sent messages of distress, according to the Rev. Shako Pascal, district superintendent in Kibombo. 

Djunga Lokoso, nurse in charge at the Kibombo center, said he was administering patient care that night when he heard noises outside.

“Suddenly, the center door was broken. I saw Mai-Mai militiamen enter, asking for money. Since there was not enough money in our crate, they broke our pharmacy and took away all the drugs. They forced the sick to sleep on the floor, took all the mattresses and kidnapped me to treat their war-wounded,” he said. “I thank God, all members of The United Methodist Church and my family for their prayers.”

The Rev. Augustin Bosenga, district superintendent in Kasongo, said the Mai-Mai rebels looted the Lubao Health Center in his district and took everything away. “The center is empty,” he said.

The stolen equipment includes 26 mattresses, eight batteries, four converters and four microscopes, according to the nurses in charge.

The two United Methodist health centers serve the Kibombo and Kasongo territories in Samba and the surrounding areas. Each health center has 12 beds to care for patients, and the centers also provide outpatient care, according to Wembokoko Paul, medical supervisor of the Maniema Health Center.

Dr. Philippes Okonda, coordinator of operations for the Eastern Congo Episcopal Area, said the rebels also targeted health posts in the districts.

“We are sorry for the actions caused by Mai-Mai rebels following the security situation in these areas,” he said. “Besides these two health centers, the rebels (also) stole all the medical equipment, worth $1,470, from the Mutumba and Luhudi health posts. They even burnt the Mutumba health post,” he said.

Osongo Yanga is the director of communications for the East Congo Episcopal Area of The United Methodist Church. News media contact: Vicki Brown at (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org. To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Daily or Weekly Digests. 

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