Home Editorial Pope Francis slams West over ‘brutal atrocities’ in DR Congo

Pope Francis slams West over ‘brutal atrocities’ in DR Congo

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Pope Francis has slammed the Western world over “brutal atrocities which bring shame upon all humanity,” in eastern DR Congo.

The pontiff made the remarks on the second day of his recent visit to DR Congo which is Africa’s largest Catholic state, after hearing testimonies from some victims of the conflict at a meeting held in the capital, Kinshasa.

He appealed to those who “plunder, scourge and destabilise” the turbulent region, to lay down their weapons and embrace peace.

“You are enriching yourselves through the illegal exploitation of this country’s goods and through the brutal sacrifice of innocent victims,” Pope Francis said, in an address.

“Listen to the cry of their blood,” he added, alluding to a verse from Genesis.

The pope then called for mercy from God upon those fueling conflicts and reaping from the devastation.

“May He convert the hearts of those who carry out brutal atrocities which bring shame upon all humanity,” he said.

Dozens of armed groups have plagued mineral-rich eastern Democratic Republic of Congo for decades.

Since late 2021, the M23 rebel group has captured swathes of North Kivu province in the east, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes.

The region has also seen a wave of deadly attacks blamed on the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a group the Islamic State claims is its affiliate.

Pope Francis being received by some Congolese children. (Photo/Vatican News)

These attacks have included a bomb blast at a pentecostal Church that killed at least 14 people early this month.

Before delivering his address, the Argentine pope heard testimony from four victims of violence in eastern DR Congo, who described abuses ranging from mutilation to rape.

One 16-year-old boy, Ladislas Kambale Kombi, recounted to the pontiff how he witnessed his father get chopped to pieces and his mother kidnapped.

Emelda M’karhungulu, another victim, told the Pope that militants had held her as a sex slave for three months.
“They made us eat corn paste with the meat of killed men,” she said.

Pope Francis said he was shocked by the stories of “inhumane” violence. “Your tears are my tears”.

He noted that the war had been “unleashed by an insatiable greed for raw materials and money that fuels a weaponised economy and requires instability and corruption.”

Source AFP

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