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Rome Reports

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Victim from DRC: “We were made to eat the flesh of the people who had been killed”

At the Apostolic Nunciature in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pope Francis met with victims of the ongoing conflict in the Eastern part of the country. 

One of the victims was Ladislas Kambale Kombi, a 17-year-old farmer whose brother and father were killed and his mother was kidnapped. He, along with two other young people forgave their attackers.

It is difficult to understand such evil, an almost animal-like brutality. Most Holy Father, we thank you for coming to console us.

Emelda M'karhungulu recounted the horrors her village faced after a raid in 2005 when she was 16 years old.

I was kept as a sex slave and abused for three months. Every day, five to ten men abused each of us. We were made to eat corn paste and the flesh of the people who had been killed. Sometimes they mixed people's flesh with the meat of animals—this was our daily food.

After each testimony, the group laid down symbols of the attacks—machetes, clothing, hammers, even a mat—each forgiving their attackers.

Pope Francis condemned the violence and destruction. He expressed his solidarity with the victims, saying that the Church will always be on their side.

To you, dear people of the East, I want to say: I am close to you. Your tears are my tears; your pain is my pain.

This conflict is between warring rebel groups in East Democratic Republic of Congo. It has increased tensions with the country's neighbors and it has claimed the lives of 3 million people over the last 25 years.