2016-12-21 10:45:00

Pope urges DRC leaders to heed the suffering of their people

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has appealed to all people of the Democratic Republic of Congo to be artisans of reconciliation and peace. 

The Pope’s heartfelt appeal came at the end of his weekly General Audience in the Paul VI Hall.

Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni:

Remarking on the fact that he has recently met with the President and Vice President of the Bishops’ Conference of the DRC, Francis said “I renew my heartfelt appeal to all Congolese so that in this delicate moment of their history, may they be artisans of reconciliation and peace”.

“May those, the Pope continued,  who are in positions of political responsibility listen to the voice of their conscience, learn to see the cruel sufferings of their fellow citizens and have at heart the common good”.

The Pope assured the beloved people of  DRC of his support and love, and he invited them to let themselves be guided by the light of the Redeemer of the world.

“I pray that the birth of the Lord may open paths of hope” he said.

The Pope's appeal came as political violence flares in the DRC. 

UN officials say over 20 people have been killed in rencent hours in clashes between protesters and security forces in the capital, Kinshasa, over President Joseph Kabila's failure to give up power.

Kabila's 15-year rule was due to have ended on Monday at midnight, but has been extended to 2018. The President's main rival said the refusal to give up power amounted to a coup.

The electoral commission cancelled elections that were scheduled for last month, citing logistical and financial difficulties in organising them.

Kabila has now formed a 74-member transitional government to lead the vast central African state until elections are held in 2018.

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