Congolese soldiers patrol a road in DR Congo Congolese soldiers patrol a road in DR Congo  (AFP or licensors)

Pope condemns DR Congo attacks: 'We watch in horror'

In the wake of an attack on a Catholic mission hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo in which civilians and a nun were killed, Pope Francis condemns a surge in violence and prays for all those affected.

By Deborah Castellano Lubov

Pope Francis has decried the "horror" continuing to "bloody" the Democratic Republic of Congo, and has condemned the "unacceptable" terror attack against defenceless civilians at a Catholic mission hospital raided last Wednesday evening.

The Holy Father made an appeal for peace in the African country battered by ongoing violence at the conclusion of his Wednesday General Audience.

“We watch in horror as events continue to bloody the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

Exhausted by violence

The Holy Father said he "strongly deplores the unacceptable assault" that took place in recent days in the village of Maboja in the country's North-Kivu province.

He decried the deaths of the "defenceless," recalling that among the dead was religious sister, Sister Sylvie Kalima, a healthcare worker.

“Let us pray for the victims and their families, as well as for the Christian community and the inhabitants of that region, who have been exhausted by violence for too long.”

Raid marks series of heightened attacks

The Wednesday midnight raid of Maboya village marks the latest of the heightened attacks perpetrated by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Congolese Islamic rebel group.

The insurgents targeted the hospital, killing patients and a staff member, stealing drugs and medical equipment, and setting the structure on fire.

On 4 October, twenty Christians were killed in the village of Kainama, within the same province.

ADF attacks in North Kivu and Ituri provinces have become a regular occurrence.

In February, armed men killed a priest who was returning to his parish after celebrating Mass for the World Day of Consecrated Life.

Bishop Melchisédec Sikuli Paluku of the Diocese of Butembo-Beni also decried the events.

“Words cannot express the horror that has more than crossed the threshold!” he said. “This attack, which the Diocese strongly condemns for the umpteenth time, resulted in the loss of human life, in particular that of Sister Doctor Marie-Sylvie Kavuke Vakatsuraki."

The Pope's continued closeness to DRC

Pope Francis has expressed his intention to visit DR Congo as soon as possible.

The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, brought the Pope's closeness to the people in the African nation in early July.

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26 October 2022, 10:09