Pope consoles Congolese victims: 'Your pain is my pain' - The Associated Press - en Español
Feb 02, 2023 1 min, 12 secs
Congolese from the country’s violence-wracked east traveled to the capital of Kinshasa to tell the pope of the horrific violence they suffered for years as rebel groups sought to gain territory in the mineral-rich region through attacks that have forced more than 5 million people to flee their homes.

“To every family that grieves or is displaced by the burning of villages and other war crimes, to the survivors of sexual violence and to every injured child and adult, I say: I am with you; I want to bring you God’s caress.”

Despite being home to one of the largest U.N. peacekeeping operation in the world, eastern Congo has been mired in violence since the early 1990s as rebels and miliitas vie for control of mineral-rich territory.

“What a scandal and what hypocrisy, as people are being raped and killed, while the commerce that causes this violence and death continues to flourish!” Francis said of the foreign powers and extraction industries that are exploiting Congo’s east.

Francis had originally planned to visit the eastern province of North Kivu, where rebel groups have intensified attacks in the past year, when his trip was initially scheduled for July.

Ladislas Kambale Kombi, from the Beni area of eastern North Kivu province, told Francis of watching as men in military uniforms decapitated his father, placed his head in a basket and then took off with his mother, whom he never saw again.

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