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Growing concern as DRC prosecutors open judicial inquiry against Cardinal

Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo of Kinshasa   -  
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Andrew Medichini/Copyright 2019 The AP. All rights reserved

Democratic Republic Of Congo

There is growing concern after prosecutors in the Democratic Republic of Congo opened a judicial inquiry against Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo of Kinshasa for “seditious comments”.

The Archbishop is believed to be one of Pope Francis’ main advisors and the Vatican says it is closely monitoring the situation.

Ambongo was accused of “incitement” after speaking out against insecurity in the east of the country, where the army is fighting the M23 rebels, during his Easter Mass..

Ongoing violence in North Kivu province has caused almost two million people to flee their homes since the end of 2021.

Prosecutors says his comments were likely to discourage soldiers in the east and encourage mistreatment by the rebels fighting them.

Reactions to the announcement of the judicial investigation against Ambongo have been swift with both clergy, human rights groups, and opposition politicians rallying to his defence.

Opposition leaders say the state’s case against the Cardinal sets a dangerous precedent for those wishing to criticise the government.

The Catholic Church in the DRC has been a vocal critic of corruption, human rights abuses, and bad governance for decades.

Many Catholics consider the government's investigation into Cardinal Ambongo as sacrilegious.

The move is likely to cause divisions in the country that is struggling to end a war in the east.

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