Africa  

Pope issues ‘heartfelt appeal’ to people of troubled DR Congo

Pope Francis delivers a speech from the window of the apostolic palace overlooking St Peter's square during his Angelus prayer, in the Vatican City, on September 18, 2016. ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP

Pope Francis / ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP

Pope Francis appealed to the people of DR Congo on Wednesday to be “artisans of peace” after at least 11 were killed in protests against the country’s longtime president.

“I renew my heartfelt appeal to all Congolese so that in this delicate moment of their history, may they be artisans of reconciliation and peace”, he told his weekly audience.

“May those who are in positions of political responsibility listen to the voice of their conscience, learn to see the cruel sufferings of their fellow citizens and have at heart the common good”.

Tension has been mounting in the Democratic Republic of Congo for months ahead of the December 20 deadline for President Joseph Kabila’s second and final term in office to end.

With no election planned and no sign of him stepping down, veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi issued a plea to the country’s 70 million people to “peacefully resist” and “reject” the Kabila regime.

Violence in Kinshasa and other cities left at least 11 dead on Tuesday.

Talks launched by the Catholic Church last week to find a peaceful solution to the crisis were due to resume on Wednesday.

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