Protests continue in DR Congo as Catholic Church tries to mediate

A church-mediated meeting between the opposition and government of President Joseph Kabila would follow reports of deaths in clashes between security forces and protesters.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The Democratic Republic of Congo has not witnessed a peaceful change of power since its independence in 1960. Seen here Congolese policemen drive past a barricade during demonstrations in the streets of Kinshasa.

The Church-mediated talks between the government and opposition are scheduled for Wednesday in the capital, Kinshasa.

But the main opposition bloc has not committed to attending the talks mediated by DR Congo's Roman Catholic bishops.

"Those of you with political responsibility, listen to the voice of your own conscience, recognise the cruel suffering of your people and take to heart the common good," Pope Francis said on Wednesday, addressing Congo leaders.

The Congolese Catholic Church has historically played a big role in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The talks between representatives of President Joseph Kabila and opposition groups are aimed at finding a solution to the ongoing political crisis in the country.

They come after security forces reportedly shot dead at least 26 protesters who had gathered in the streets of Kinshasa on Tuesday.

The protesters were demonstrating against Kabila’s plans to postpone presidential elections until 2018. The opposition fears that Kabila may attempt to change the constitution so he can stay in office for a third term.

TRT World’s Fidelis Mbah has more on the situation.

TRTWorld and agencies