Romelu Lukaku denounces violence in DRC: 'Stop the genocide'

After scoring against Feyenoord on Thursday night, AS Roma's Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku took the opportunity to send a message about the deadly violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. "Free Congo DR, stop the genocide," Lukaku posted on Instagram immediately after the match.

By imitating the act of holding a fictional gun to his head with his fingers and covering his mouth with his hand, Lukaku denounced the deadly violence in Congo, where his parents come from.

"I have a Belgian passport, but I speak Lingala at home," Lukaku has previously said of his links with the country. "I listen to Congolese music, I eat Congolese food. On paper, I am Belgian, but in reality, I am Congolese. That is who I am.

The Congolese national team also made a statement at the Africa Cup of Nations to break the silence as the conflict in DRC receives less international attention than those in Ukraine or Gaza. The DRC has been wracked by violence for years, particularly in the east.

The Congolese army is battling the advancing rebel group M23, an armed militia backed by neighbouring Rwanda. More than 5.5 million people have been displaced in eastern Congo, 2.5 million in North Kivu alone. Human rights violations are also widespread.

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Last week, Belgium expressed its concern about the new wave of violence in North Kivu. "This violence contributes to the already tough situation of the civilian population in the east of the country as a result of the crimes committed by numerous armed groups," said Foreign minister Hadja Lahbib. "This violence must stop."

"The solution to any conflict, whatever it may be, is never military," she said. "We have to address the root causes of the conflict so that the population can prosper."

Belgium will continue to work in this direction during its European presidency and beyond, the government said, so that the population of eastern DRC and the Great Lakes region can live in peace and security.



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