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‘Heinous and barbaric’: Pope condemns machete attack in DRC


Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

I.Media - published on 02/05/22

Militiamen invade camp of displaced people, killing scores of women and children.

Pope Francis strongly condemned the “heinous and barbaric” attack in Democratic Republic of Congo in a papal message signed by the Pope’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Paroin, and addressed to President Felix Tshisekedi.

The message of February 5 expresses the Pope’s grief after the attack on a site for displaced persons in the northeast of the country. The Tuesday night attack was reported the next morning by the United Nations mission in the DRC.

People in the camp had settled there to escape militias, but militants entered the camp at night with machetes and guns and killed some 60 people, mostly women and children.

The Pope “asks the Father of all mercy to welcome in his peace and light those who have died and to give comfort to those who mourn their loss,” the message says. “May the Lord Himself give courage and strength to the families of the victims and to all those who are helping them.”

The Holy Father “strongly condemns this heinous and barbaric act which is a source of great suffering and desolation for the country.”

“Imploring from God the gift of peace and fraternity in this region that is so wounded,” Francis invokes the divine blessings on President Tshisekedi and on “all the Congolese people.”

The massacre was attributed to Codeco (Cooperative for the Development of Congo) militiamen, who are involved in ethnic clashes.

The DRC, a possible destination for a papal trip

The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the apostolic travel destinations being considered by Pope Francis in the coming months, and could be part of an African tour that includes South Sudan.

On October 22, 2021, in an interview with the Argentine agency Telam and the Spanish-language website Religion Digital, he mentioned his hopes to visit the Congo in 2022, without specifying whether it would be the Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa), the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), or both countries.

Pope Francis
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