Priest’s murder in Congo shows the need for a new concept of martyrdom

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March 23, 2016

p.-Vincent-MachoziNEWS 2016 - Around midnight on Sunday, a dozen armed men wearing uniforms of the army of the Democratic Republic of Congo burst into a social center called “My Beautiful Village,” located in the North Kivu region of the country bordering Rwanda and Uganda, where a meeting for peace involving traditional tribal chiefs was underway.

Their target was a Catholic priest named the Rev. Vincent Machozi, a member of a religious order known as the Augustinians of the Assumption, who operated an influential website documenting atrocities committed against his Nande people, also known as the Yira after the language they speak.

Machozi used the site to denounce what he saw as collusion among political elites, armed factions, and commercial interests in what he termed the “Balkanization” of the region in order to exploit its natural resources, especially its rich coltan deposits. Since 2010, so much violence has been unleashed on the Yira — often in grotesque fashion, including beheadings by machetes — that activists such as Machozi have referred to it as a “genocide.”

Machozi died early Monday amid a hail of bullets, with his last words reportedly being, “Why are you killing?”

The question was mostly rhetorical, since Machozi, 51 at the time of his death, had survived seven previous attacks since his return to the country in 2012 after almost a decade of exile in the United States.

According to the Rev. Emmanuel Kahindo, the Rome-based vicar general of the Assumptionist order and a fellow Congolese, Machozi knew the end was likely at hand, telling him last October: “My days are numbered. I will be murdered, I feel it … but like Christ, for the sake of our people, I will not be silent.”

Source: cruxnow.org, March 22, 2016

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