Thousands shelter with Salvation Army in Brazzaville

Violence in Brazzaville, the capital city of the Republic of Congo, in the wake of a disputed election forced residents to flee their homes for emergency shelter. Nearly 10,000 displaced Congolese people sought safety in The Salvation Army’s compound in the central Moungali area of the city.

Congo Brazzaville Territorial Commander Commissioner Onal Castor described the scenes as “unbelievable” as he shelters with fellow officers, cadets and 4,000 members of the public in the corps hall, and adjacent Salvation Army-run guest house and conference hall. “The situation is terrible,” he said as heavy exchanges of gunfire between government forces and opposition militia groups was reported in the streets.

A second Salvation Army refuge for a further 1,200 people was opened in the Loua area west of the capital, away from the fighting in the southern suburbs of Nzoko and Makelekele. Emergency funds for food, water and sanitary supplies were made available from International Headquarters.

“We deplore such violence, and our hearts are broken when we see the suffering that it brings,” said General André Cox. “We are grateful that The Salvation Army has been seen as a safe haven, and call on Salvationists to pray for the Congolese people at this difficult time. We pray that the God of peace will be their comfort and refuge.”

Cox reflected on Jesus’ words recorded in John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

The Salvation Army has been at work in Brazzaville since 1937.

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