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Pope Francis apologises for cancelled Africa trip, regrets disappointing Sudanese, Congolese Catholics

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Catholic pontiff, Pope Francis, on Sunday, apologised to the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, over his cancelled visit to the two African countries because of his bad leg and walking problems, and said he was hopeful his condition would improve and he would still embark on the visit at a later date.

The Vatican had announced on Thursday that the visit which was scheduled for July 2-7 had been postponed indefinitely because of the 85-year-old pontiff’s knee ailment, which forced him to use a wheelchair for more than a month or manage to walk around with the help of aides.

The Vatican said the trip was postponed “in order not to jeopardize the results of the therapy that he is undergoing for his knee”.

Vatican officials had also said the Pope has been receiving several injections a week for the ailment, as well as physical therapy, and that he had hoped to be able to regain at least a partial ability to walk before the trip was due to start.

In an address before thousands of faithful at the St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on Sunday, the Pope said he regretted disappointing the Sudanese and Congolese Catholics who were looking forward to the trip.

“I feel great regret that I had to postpone this trip, which I am still very keen to make.

“I ask you to pardon me for this. Let us pray together that with the help of God and with medical treatment, I can come to you as soon as possible. We are hopeful,” he said, directly addressing the people and authorities of both countries.

Referring to his ailment which is believed to be a torn ligament, as “problems with my leg”, Pope Francis said he also suffers from sciatica which caused him to limp even before the flare-up of the knee problem.

Musings From Abroad

Despite heavy security presence, Libyan protesters step up campaign, vow to continue demonstrations

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Libyan protesters have vowed to step up its campaign and continue with their demonstrations until all the ruling elites quit power and pave way for elections.

The protests which began on Friday, saw the burning of the country’s parliament building in Tobruk when a large crowd broke through the security and set the building on fire.

The incident prompted the government to release thousands of security personnel into the streets but the demonstrators were not deterred as they defied the presence of the forces on Saturday and Sunday by holding rallies in Tripoli, Tobruk, and Benghazi, and other major cities in the North African country.

While addressing the protesters, leaders of the movement said they would step up its campaign from Sunday, urging demonstrators to set up tents in city squares and practise civil disobedience until they achieve their goal of ousting political institutions and holding new elections.

Libyan Observer reports that the protesters held their biggest rally in Tripoli for years, chanting slogans against the feuding political elites, as demonstrators blocked off roads in Benghazi and Misrata and set fire to government buildings in Sebha and Qarabuli.

The media also reported that despite pleas by United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the demonstrators are bent on going on with their daily protests until they force the ruling elites out.

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Musings From Abroad

US commends Kenya’s effort at resolving Rwanda/Congo tension

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The US has praised Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta for his effort at resolving tensions between East African neighbour, DR Congo and Rwanda.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with President Kenyatta in a phone call on Thursday describes Kenya’s move as the best approach to end armed conflict in the troubled east of the country.

The US State Department Spokesman Ned Price said of the phone call, that “Secretary Blinken expressed his appreciation for the Nairobi process, which has brought together the leadership of the DR Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, South Sudan and Tanzania.

“The Secretary noted these heads of state meetings are instrumental for facilitating the de-escalation of regional tensions, and in particular between the DR Congo and Rwanda.”

The acrimony between the countries was pronounced last month when Rwandan military authorities accused the armed forces of neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo of cross-border attacks.

Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, last week called on the East African regional bloc to deploy East African force to the troubled eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to restore security following renewed fighting between government forces and the M23 rebels which has seen thousands killed and displaced since the resumption of hostilities.

Although the move to deploy the forces has been commended by the US, United Nations and the African Union, Congolese politicians and the public have expressed reservations about the proposed deployment of peace troops. They said the East Africa Standby Force (EASF) would be duplicating roles of the UN Mission (Monusco) as well as other existing interventions currently on the ground.

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