“The immediate release of prisoners” and “solidarity with the Congolese Church and people” – this was expressed by the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI) in a solidarity appeal with the Bishops of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The appeal, released a few minutes ago, highlights that “the kidnapping of Fr. Robert Masinda – a priest from the Diocese of Butembo-Beni – and one of his aides on 22 January is symptomatic of the malaise that has long gripped the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is the sixth priest to be kidnapped since 2012, besides other religious and lay people, in a context, that of North Kivu, where the exhausted civilian population is subjected to every kind of harassment by numerous armed groups on a daily basis. Then there is the delicate political situation in the country, marked by the repression of those Catholics who protested on 31 December last year, and continue to do so peacefully, against those who prevent elections from taking place in the African country”. For this reason, the CEI “calls for the immediate release of prisoners”, expresses “its solidarity with the Congolese Church and people, and unites with the local Bishops in imploring from God the gifts of justice, reconciliation and peace”.