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