Broadcasts from Radio Kahuzi, HCJB World Radio's partner ministry in Bukavu, Dem. Rep. of Congo, went back on the air earlier this week after heavy fighting disrupted power in the city of 250,000 near the Rwanda border for most of ten days.
"For the moment, we are the only private radio on the air in Bukavu," wrote Richard McDonald of Believer's Express Service, Inc. in an e-mail report on Wednesday. "So with our normal Christian programming, we are trying to reassure the distant populations that peace and calm are returning to Bukavu. We are thankful to be on the air after many difficult days with no electricity and varying stages of insecurity that began on May 26."
McDonald added that government forces had captured the rebel insurgents with "very little, if any, loss of life." He urges prayer for "order to be reestablished among the military forces, and for civil authority to be established so normal life can resume."
UN peacekeeping troops continue to patrol the streets of Bukavu to prevent further looting of shops and offices of humanitarian agencies. The troops are also working to prevent acts of retaliation among ethnic groups. Brig. Gen. Mbuza Mabe, the loyalist commander under which Bukavu falls, appealed to residents via UN Radio Okapi to remain calm. The dissidents had invaded Bukavu after they received reports that Mabe was killing Congolese Tutsis, known as Banyamulenge.
McDonald said another 1,000 fix-tuned short-wave receivers built by Galcom have cleared customs in Goma and are ready to ship to Bukavu for distribution. "We sometimes toss one of these solar-powered radios to a passing armored troop carrier," he said. "The UN troops from South America, Europe or South Africa are happy to have it and to listen to our programming/music and the gospel along with development programs in health, hygiene and agriculture, as well as news."
Radio Kahuzi, founded in 1992, broadcasts via FM (91.1 MHz) and short-wave (6210 kHz) in six languages -- English, French, Kikongo, Mashi, Lingala and Swahili. The station is among the first to be established via HCJB World Radio's "radio planting" ministry which helps establish local stations worldwide. More than 250 partner stations around the globe are now on the air as a result of this outreach.