Pope Francis Calls On World Leaders To Stop Bloodshed In DRC

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Pope Francis has called on the national and international authorities to take action to stop the bloodshed in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo in which dozens were killed in the North Kivu province.

Pope Francis stated this at the end of his weekly Sunday prayers on St Peter’s Square, saying many of the victims killed were Christians.

“Painful news continues to arrive of battles and massacres that are happening in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“I appeal to the national authorities and the international community to do all that is possible to stop the violence and to protect civilian lives,” the pontiff said.

He said many Christians were among the victims of the recent attacks, stressing that they were “killed in hatred of their faith” and described them as “martyrs”.

The Pope also urged people to pray for peace in all areas afflicted by war, specifically mentioning Ukraine, the Holy Land, Sudan and Myanmar.

Congo’s government said militants have killed at least 41 people in the latest incident in the province, but civil society groups put the death toll much higher.

The authorities have blamed the Allied Democratic Forces group for the latest spate of attacks in the Beni region.

About 150 people have died in North Kivu since the beginning of the month and the killings were attributed to the Islamic State group-linked rebels.

The eastern DRC has struggled with armed violence for decades as more than 120 groups fight for power, land, and valuable mineral resources.