Jones Reports from Congo

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On the Firing Line

By Eleanor Jones – 

(Ed. note: Lay personnel Eleanor Jones was evacuated from Brazzaville, Congo, this spring; she has returned to Africa and is working at THQ in Kinshasa until it is safe to return to Brazzaville.)

Last night when I went to Bible study, a friend had a video tape on the TV. I thought at first he was showing pictures of his daughter, but he said it was the burning of Brazzaville. Watching it, I saw a ferry burning, and it didn’t seem there was much left of the beach port. You could see the tower, and to the left was the Catholic church with the green roof. Between them something was burning. It burned for a long time, with flames higher than houses. I couldn’t figure out what it was…maybe it was at the airport, or the stands, or maybe it was President Lisouba’s helicopter. It is hard to imagine what would burn that long and that high.

Fighting is going on every day. After a day or two of relative quiet, they must get a fresh supply of weapons, because it is really fierce.

Yesterday, Colonel Makoumbou called and said he heard an officer and his family fled across the river Sunday, but he didn’t know who it was. He wanted to make it official. Sure enough, a divisional commander on this side found them at one of his postes, but he didn’t know who they were. He would move them today to the SFOT and Lt. Louzolo will let me know. Lt. Mounkouaghata from Maloukou Poste came in today. He was the evacuee and he had brought the Matondo (self denial) to me from the Sunday in June. He hasn’t been able to get away from his poste since then, and (the fighting) got so fierce he fled by river. He didn’t have much food to eat, but he saved the self denial for THQ, IHQ, in honor of God.

Lt. Louzolo is here waiting for a letter of invitation to Belgium. He had one and was supposed to go to his new assignment a while ago, but all his papers were stolen. It’s time-consuming to do paperwork over again.

Antoinette, THQ secretary, came over to a refugee camp here. She looks very, very thin and said a lot more people left on Sunday a week ago. Bacongo is semi-empty now.

Many months ago, all the expatriates asked people at home to pray for the Congo. We made a board with all those slips. The looters came and stole that list. All those people who said they were going to pray for peace were unanswered due to the evil of men’s hearts. Now are those people still praying? If they are, it would be nice to write a letter of encouragement to the Congolese. They were discouraged because no one had written. So, please write and ask the same people you asked to pray to write Lt. Colonel Makoumbou, Armee du Salut, BP 8636, Kinshasa 1, Republic Democratique du Congo, AFRICA.

I could explain why I was the only person who came back. There is no housing, and for decision makers it would be useless. You can only get information to the Congo, Brazzaville, and they only come over every two weeks. I assured them you all were thinking of them.

As for Congo, Kinshasa: The military shot two students the day before yesterday because they led a protest. There is a camp up country that has 2,000 to 3,000 of Mobuta’s old army. Twenty to 30 are dying a day from starvation, and there are only 1,000 of Kabila’s forces there. Kabila’s army has arrested numerous expatriates in the last week, and put them in prison for awhile. No one seems to know why. Otherwise, the city is good. I went into one of the markets twice and it was safe.

Our e-mail has not been working for a week.

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