(NewsReady.com) – The African continent is rife with violence. Tribal conflicts, terrorist attacks, and battles over natural resources have all contributed to the issues in various countries. Pope Francis recently visited the continent, where he was asked about the issue in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Vatican News reported journalists had an opportunity to speak to the pope on the way home from South Sudan. Reporter Jean-Luc Mootoosamy asked the pontiff about the spread of violence in the DRC and South Sudan, even though the United Nations has held many peacekeeping missions there. Further, he wanted to know how Pope Francis feels about the countries choosing partners for security purposes that might “not respect international law,” like Russian private security companies.
On the return flight from #SouthSudan, Pope Francis is joined by @JustinWelby and @churchmoderator for a press conference. The Pope reflects on the instrumentalization of Benedict XVI’s death and reiterates the injustice of criminalizing homosexual peoplehttps://t.co/MALxc1cTRT
— Vatican News (@VaticanNews) February 5, 2023
Pope Francis responded, “Violence is an everyday theme.” He said they’d seen it in South Sudan. He blamed it, in part, on the “sale of weapons.” The pope called it the “biggest plague in the world.” He went on to say that he’d heard world hunger could be ended in a year if arms sales would end, and while he wasn’t sure that was true but he knows “at the top today is the selling of arms.”
The pope said he thinks the reasons some sell arms to poor people is because of an economic interest in the minerals, land, and wealth they own. That is the case in much of the African continent. Ultimately, Pope Francis explained, he thinks the “problem is the eagerness to take [a] country’s wealth.”
Both China and Russia are being accused of making mineral grabs on the continent. According to a 2022 Forbes article, the two nations are exploiting the nation’s mineral rich land, lack of regulations, and cheap labor. While it’s not clear if they are selling weapons to the Africans, China has promised military aid and Russia has sent the Wagner Group, a mercenary organization, there.
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