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Pope Francis delivers his Angelus address on Sunday (CNS/Vatican Media)

Pope Francis has called for peace in the conflict-stricken Democratic Republic of Congo and urged its government and the international community to work jointly to safeguard lives by ending violence in the country. Source: UCA News.

Reports of massacres in the eastern part of the DRC is “painful news,” said Pope Francis in his Angelus address on Sunday.

“I appeal to the national leaders and the international community [to] do everything possible to stop the violence and safeguard the lives of civilians,” Francis said.

He also said that among the victims of clashes and massacres in the region were many Christians, adding that they were “martyrs”.

“Their sacrifice is a seed that germinates and bears fruit and teaches us to bear witness to the Gospel with courage and consistency,” Francis said.

The Pope’s call follows reports of civilian casualties from the region.

Between 42 and 80 people were killed in a series of attacks on villages in the Beni territory in North Kivu province, allegedly perpetrated by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel group, Vatican News reported citing multiple news agencies and local authorities.

The attacks, which took place between May 4-7, were a precursor to other such killings in the past two weeks during which the assailants also stole motorcycles and set fire to houses.

Reportedly, at least 123 civilians have been killed in various attacks attributed to ADF rebels in the Bapakombe-Pendekali region, in Mangina, Mantumbi, Kudukudu, Kalmango, and Beu-Manyama since May 3 this year.

Separately, DRC authorities are also battling Rwanda-linked M23 rebels, who also mostly operate in the eastern region of the country, Vatican News reported.

The latest attacks have brought the death toll due to rebel attacks in the DRC this month to nearly 150, AFP reported.


Pope Francis condemns civilian massacres in DRC Congo (UCA News)