Ethe Pope Francisco was received in Kinshasa on Tuesday by a crowd lined up from the Ndjili International Airport to the Presidential Palace for the welcoming ceremony. In his first speech upon his arrival in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Pope denounced the conflicts that continue to plague the country, and the exploitation of its immense natural resources by foreign forces:
“Haunted by war, the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to suffer within its borders conflicts and forced migration, as well as terrible forms of exploitation unworthy of humanity.”
“This huge country full of life, this diaphragm of Africa, struck by violence as if it had been punched in the stomach, has long seemed out of breath. Mr. President, you mentioned this forgotten genocide that the Republic of Congo is suffering”.
“Africa is exploited, and this is terrible. In fact, after the policy, an equally enslaving economic colonialism was unleashed. Thus, this widely plundered country does not manage to benefit sufficiently from its immense resources. The paradox has been reached that the the fruits of this land distance it from its inhabitants. The poison of greed has stained its diamonds with blood.”
“Hands off the Democratic Republic of the Congo! Hands off Africa! Stop suffocating Africa. Africa is not a mine to exploit, nor to loot. Let Africa be the protagonist of its own destiny.”
Francis urged the Congolese people to reject violence. He has started a six-day trip in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that will end in South Sudan on an ecumenical mission, in which he will be accompanied by the Anglican Primate and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland.