Munitions Explosions Damage C&MA Churches in Congo

By Anne Stephens and Jay Bellamy, serving in the Republic of the Congo

The following is an adapted excerpt from a report by two international Alliance workers in Congo, describing the effects of several munitions explosions that occurred in the country’s capital city this weekend.

This morning (Sunday, March 4), several large explosions took place in Brazzaville. We now know that a fire broke out in a munitions dump, located just north of the downtown area.

The resulting series of explosions from the fire rocked three adjacent, heavily populated sections of the capital city: Talangai, Ouenze, and Mpila. It is difficult to know how many people have died, but officials estimate about 150. [That number is now estimated to be closer to 200.] Some 1,500 are believed to have been injured. Damage assessments have begun.

Alliance Churches, People Affected

International Alliance workers here are safe, but several of our national Alliance churches were affected.

This is what we know so far:

  • The Ouenze church’s roof has collapsed and all the walls have fissures in them due to the explosions.  Children attending Sunday school fled from the building, running in every direction. Pastor Oyiaffini spent a good part of the day looking for them to take them to their homes. His own house collapsed, but fortunately no one was injured.  He would really appreciate our prayers.
  • In Talangai, Pastor Caliste reported that the roofs of his church and his house collapsed. He sent his family to his wife’s relatives’ home. He is staying near his house to prevent looting. Additionally, Pastor Symphorien suffered the collapse of his house; thankfully, no one was hurt. He is keeping watch near his home, too, and has sent his family to another part of the city.
  • Pastor Sita reports that an unexploded shell from the munitions dump was thrown into the house next door to his; it detonated upon impact, demolishing his neighbor’s home and spraying his own house with bricks. The explosions were such a traumatic reminder of the war, the pastor and his family immediately fled to a seminary on the edge of the city for refuge.

Alliance People Take Action

“About 5:30, I took my wife Ruth, Bev Belamy, and her visiting sister and brother-in-law to CHU (University Hospital) to see if they could help,” said Ron Julian, our Alliance field director in Congo. “Bev’s sister is a nurse and her brother-in-law is an EMT. They took some medical supplies with them, which were very much welcome.”

On Monday (March 5), a meeting will take place between the regional president for the Alliance church here, Pastor Bilongo, Ron Julian, and others to assess how the national church can respond to this crisis. Please pray for a well-coordinated relief effort.

What You Can Do

Please be in prayer for the national church in Congo and for Alliance workers there. Pray for Alliance workers the world over to have divine appointments through which they will have opportunities to share the good news!

Learn about the Great Commission Fund and make a donation today. Partner with dedicated Alliance workers like our personnel in Congo, who are spreading the good news about Jesus in word and deed.

Read “Congo munitions blasts kill 150” to learn more about the disaster. Note: Clicking on this link will take you off of the C&MA Web site.


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