Pope Francis denounced the “poison of greed” for mineral resources driving conflict and exploitation in Democratic Republic of Congo as he began a visit there on Tuesday, calling on the world not to ignore the country’s tragic plight.
“Hands off the Democratic Republic of the Congo! Hands off Africa! Stop choking Africa: it is not a mine to be stripped or a terrain to be plundered,” Francis said in a speech at the presidential palace, shortly after arriving in Kinshasa.
“One has the impression that the international community has practically resigned itself to the violence devouring it (Congo). We cannot grow accustomed to the bloodshed that has marked this country for decades, causing millions of deaths,” the pope said.
Congo has some of the world’s richest deposits of diamonds, gold and valuable metals such as copper and cobalt, but is plagued by war and poverty.
(By Philip Pullella and Estelle Shirbon; Editing by James Macharia Chege)