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Commenting on the Pope’s visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Bernard Balibuno - CAFOD’s country rep for DRC - said:

“The visit of the Holy Father came at a critical time. Our country has been at war for over 30 years. 6 million people have been lost, millions have been displaced.

“Many people have suffered, women have been violated, children continue to die in terrible conditions.

“But Pope Francis message of peace and hope has meant so much to my country. As you have seen, with the millions turning out to welcome him, of all faiths and none.

“It is not just the message of peace that has touched our hearts, but also his message of solidarity and highlighting how our resources have been robbed and exploited for decades.

“This resonates strongly with my country. The silence on our country continues to amaze us, we ask ourselves why the international community closes its eyes on the DRC, when support is given quickly elsewhere.

“I hope the Pope’s words and his visit will keep the light shining on DRC and that we get support from the international community so that we can rebuild in peace.”