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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Pope calls for peace in Congo following deadly protests

Pope Francis appealed for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo following the killing of protesters demonstrating against President Joseph Kabila in several cities across the country.

After meeting recently with the heads of the Congolese Bishops’ Conference, the pope renewed his call during his weekly general audience on 21st December, urging the people of Congo to “be authors of reconciliation and peace.”

“May those who have political responsibility listen to the voice of their own conscience, may they be able to see the cruel suffering of their compatriots and have at heart the common good,” the pope said.

Government security forces shot and killed 26 protesters during scattered demonstrations throughout the country against President Kabila, who has exceeded his presidential mandate, according to the Reuters news agency.

The news agency also reported that the government failed to schedule elections, citing logistical and financial issues, raising fears that the country would once again be thrown into chaos.

Picture: People chant slogans against Congolese President Joseph Kabila as armed UN peacekeepers watch protesters in Kinshasa on 20th December. (CNS photo/Thomas Mukoya, Reuters).