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Côte d’Ivoire

Section III. Status of Societal Respect for Religious Freedom

A bishop from the United Methodist Church during the Church’s 13th Ordinary Annual Conference on March 18 called on the president to enable the repatriation of all citizens still in exile following disputed national elections in 2010 and to release all political prisoners.  He said that political leaders should put the nation’s interests and the people’s wellbeing ahead of their own.  On August 6, the president announced an amnesty for 800 persons linked to the post-electoral crisis, leading to the release of 300 individuals from detention.

Christian and Muslim religious leaders, civil society, and political leaders took part in the sixth Interreligious Conference for Peace hosted by the Sant’Egidio Community in Abidjan on October 21.  Local religious leaders stated they agreed to work together to fight the causes of conflicts, one of which they labeled as religious fanaticism.

Individuals regularly celebrated each other’s religious holidays by attending household or neighborhood gatherings, regardless of their own faith.  For example, in August Minister of Urban Areas Albert Francois Amichia, who is Christian, attended the Eid al-Adha celebration at the Treichville mosque with Muslim believers.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Section III. Status of Societal Respect for Religious Freedom

Members of the Kamuina Nsapu antigovernment militia in the Kasai region attacked and targeted Catholic Church property, schools, and clergy, according to Church sources.  In Kasai, Kasai Central, and Kasai Oriental Provinces, the Catholic Church reported threats and attacks against the Church by unidentified assailants believed to be members of the Kamuina Nsapu, other armed groups, or government security forces.  In September in Kananga in Kasai Central Province, Kananga Catholic Archbishop Marcel Madila stated there was “deep fear and insecurity” throughout Kasai Central Province after a rash of robberies and assaults targeting nuns, parishes, and civilians.  Archbishop Madila reported four attacks against nuns in Bena Mukangala, Kambote, Malole, and Tshilumba.  In North Kivu on April 8, unidentified gunmen shot and killed Father Etienne Nsengiunva in Kyahemba.

On April 1, in Kihondo in North Kivu, unidentified armed men abducted Father Celestin Ngango after Mass and demanded a ransom.  He was released one week later.

Some religious leaders reported continued tensions between Christian and Muslim communities in the north but also signs of improved relations in the eastern part of the country linked to the government’s ongoing fight against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).  On November 27, for example, both Muslim and Christian leaders peacefully marched in Beni expressing their support for joint offensive operations against the ADF.

In Budjala in Sud Ubangi Province, Voice of America reported that on March 30, Christians burned a mosque and the home of a man who allegedly killed a Christian man he caught in a sexual relationship with his wife.

Leaders of the Jehovah’s Witnesses reported generally positive relations with the rest of the community but noted that 21 cases of assault on or suspected killings of Jehovah’s Witnesses dating from as early as 2015 were languishing in the court system or never sent to court for criminal prosecution after the arrests of suspects.  They also reported three assaults during the year that they stated were due to their religious beliefs in rural areas of Wapinda, Equateur Province, Luono, Kwango Province, and Fube, Katanga Province.

In South Kivu Province, Muslims in the Katana area said they had not received funds to rebuild their mosque after it was burned down in October 2016, despite a promise in November 2016 from the former governor of South Kivu to provide funds to rebuild the mosque.

International Religious Freedom Reports
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U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future