Pope Francis has called for an end to violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
On Sunday, government security forces fired on demonstrators who were protesting against President Joseph Kabila, killing six people. The protests had been organised by the local Catholic Church.
“Worrying news continues to arrive from the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Pope Francis told his congregation in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican City.
“I therefore renew my appeal that everyone make all efforts to avoid any form of violence. From its side, the Church wants nothing other than to contribute to peace and to the common good of society,” he added.
President Kabila has been in power since 2001, and was supposed to step down after his second and final term came to an end in 2016.
Under a deal reached more than a year ago, this was extended to 2017, but he remains in power.
Instead, the election to replace him has been delayed until December 2018.
The country’s powerful Catholic Church has been a powerful voice of opposition to Mr Kabila.
It also called for the demonstrations in late December, which led to at least seven deaths, according to UN peacekeepers.