While forgiveness and reconciliation were the central themes of his speech Thursday, the pontiff also singled out “corruption, which never seems to stop spreading.”
He went on to lead the stadium in an impromptu chant of “no corruption.” As most of the crowd chanted in unison with him, he conducted the audience with his right hand gently moving upward.
In a speech to dignitaries at the presidential palace Tuesday, he condemned those using the country’s mineral wealth to fuel war, death, displacement and hunger.
“Hands off Africa. Stop choking Africa: it is not a mine to be stripped or a terrain to be plundered,” Francis said, according to Reuters. “The poison of greed has smeared its diamonds with blood,” he added, referring to Congo specifically.
Sabra Mpoyi, a lawyer and political analyst from Kinshasa, said he hoped the pope’s visit would provide a wake-up call to the international community about the violence created by the battle for control of Congo’s natural resources.
“The international community has an obligation to demand the traceability of minerals, and oblige all major economic operators to work legally with the Congolese government in a win-win partnership,” he said.
Mpoyi, 42, added that the international community must no longer turn a “blind eye” to companies supporting the armed groups battling over the resources.
“It is unacceptable that the Congolese people live in misery when the country has a lot of wealth,” he said.
Kenny Katombe Butunka reported from Congo and Aina J. Khan from London.
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