Pope Francis Calls for Action to End Violence in Congo

After a week in which scores were slain in the province of North Kivu, Pope Francis called on national and international authorities to act to end the killing in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

After concluding his weekly Sunday prayers in St. Peter’s Square, he said that a large number of the victims were Christians.

“Saddening reports of conflicts and killings occurring in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo keep coming in,” the pope stated.

“I implore the national government and the international community to take all reasonable steps to put an end to the violence and safeguard the lives of civilians.”

He added that a large number of Christians were hurt in the most recent attacks. Francis called them “martyrs” and claimed that they were “killed in hatred of their faith.”

The Pope also called on people to pray for peace in all war-torn regions, including Sudan, Myanmar, the Holy Land, and the Ukraine in particular.

Although civil society organizations estimate the death toll to be far higher, the Congolese government claims that militants have killed at least 41 civilians in the most recent event in the region.

The latest wave of attacks in the Beni region is being attributed by the government to the Allied Democratic Forces group.

Since the beginning of the month, some 150 people have perished in North Kivu as a result of insurgents connected to the Islamic State organization.

For many years, over 120 organizations have been engaged in violent conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) over territory, power, and precious minerals.

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