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People march in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, on Sunday to protest escalating violence in the the country in 2022 (CNS/Justin Makangara, Reuters)

Pope Francis condemned the recent killing of 14 Catholics in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who reportedly were killed after they refused to convert to Islam. Source: CNA.

The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano reported that the 14 Catholics, several of them very young, were killed in North Kivu by members of the ISIS-affiliated militia called the “Allied Democratic Forces”.

Diverging from his prepared statements on May 25, the Pope said: “I would like to stop and thank God for the testimony of martyrdom that a group of Catholics from Congo, from North Kivu, have given in recent days.”

Francis added that “their throats were slit simply because they were Christians and didn’t want to convert to Islam”.

According to a report by International Christian Concern (ICC), the Allied Democratic Forces also carried out an attack on the Christian village of Ndimo in Ituri state. ICC said that 11 Christians were executed with machetes and rifles on May 13 while several others were kidnapped, and some houses were set on fire.

Butembo-Beni Bishop Melchisedec Paluku condemned the killings and praised the Christians’ resilience, ICC reported.

“The resilience and courage displayed by the villagers in the face of such adversity are a testament to their unwavering spirit and determination to rebuild their lives amidst unimaginable tragedy,” Bishop Paluku said.

The bishop called on the DRC government to increase its counterterrorism efforts, saying: “The brazen disregard for human life and dignity exhibited by these extremists underscores the urgent need for heightened security measures and robust counterterrorism efforts to safeguard innocent civilians from such brutal acts of violence.”


14 Catholics killed in Democratic Republic of Congo after refusing to convert to Islam (CNA)