Pope calls for quick accord to end DRC violence

2017-02-19 16:30
Pope Francis. (File: AP)

Pope Francis. (File: AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Vatican City - Pope Francis on Sunday urged leaders of the Democratic Republic of Congo to act quickly to resolve its political crisis and curb violence, condemning in particular the use of child soldiers.

Violence has flared across the country in recent months, including deadly confrontations in the Kasai regions, as President Joseph Kabila has indicated no plans to step down even though his term ended in December.

On Friday, a video emerged appearing to show DRC soldiers killing unarmed civilians in Kasai-Oriental, while on Saturday officials said militiamen from the country's Nande ethnic group had killed 25 civilians in the country's violence-torn east, most hacked to death with machetes.

"We continue to hear news sadly of violent and brutal clashes in the Kasai-Central region of the Democratic Republic of Congo," Francis said during his Angelus address in Saint Peter's Square.

"I strongly feel the pain of the victims, especially the many children ripped from their families and from schools to be used as soldiers," he said.

He made "an urgent appeal" to "national authorities and the international community, so that they take appropriate and prompt decisions" to end the violence.

Hundreds have died in central Congo in recent months and tens of thousands have been forced to flee as battles rage between security forces and militias.

Kabila, in power since 2001, was to step down on December 20 at the end of his second and final term, but refused to do so.

A deal brokered by the country's influential Roman Catholic bishops allows him to stay in office until late 2017 in tandem with a transitional body and a new premier.

But efforts to avoid all-out conflict in the country of 71 million people appear to have broken down, negotiations between the government and opposition parties having stalled.

Francis, 80, also urged prayers for victims of war and violence in other parts of Africa and across the world.

He denounced in particular the "cruel terrorist acts" in Pakistan, where at least 88 people were killed on Thursday when an attacker blew himself up inside a crowded Sufi shrine, for which the Islamic State group claimed responsibility.

The attack came after a series of bloody assaults, including a Taliban suicide bomb in the eastern city of Lahore which killed 13 people and wounded dozens.

Read more on:    joseph kabila  |  pope francis  |  drc  |  central africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.