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Pope Francis calls for an end to violence in D.R. Congo

Democratic Republic Of Congo

Pope Francis renewed an appeal on Wednesday for an end to violence in Democratic Republic of Congo, where security forces have gunned down protesters during pro-democracy demonstrations called by the local Catholic Church.

“Unfortunately, worrying news continues to arrive from the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Francis told a crowd in St. Peter’s Square after a regular general audience.

“I, therefore, renew my appeal that everyone make all efforts to avoid any form of violence. From its side, the Church wants nothing other than to contribute to peace and to the common good of society.”

The Catholic Church, which is highly influential in Congo, has become increasingly vocal in its condemnation of President Joseph Kabila’s insistence on staying in office long after the end of his mandate.

President Kabila has been in power since 2001, and was supposed to step down after his second and final term came to an end in 2016.

Under a deal brokered by the Catholic Church, he was allowed to stay in office provided new elections were held in 2017, but he remains in power.

The authorities have since postponed the election until December 23 this year, citing what they said were logistical problems in preparing for the vote.

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