Congo Football Stars Turn Spotlight on Humanitarian Crisis During Africa Cup Semifinal Build-Up

Congo Football Stars Turn Spotlight on Humanitarian Crisis During Africa Cup Semifinal Build-Up
Congolese National Team

Written By : Leah De-Graft Takyi


In a powerful move, Congo's football captain Chancel Mbemba and forward Cédric Bakambu are leveraging their platform at the Africa Cup of Nations to bring attention to the ongoing armed violence in their home country. Bakambu, taking to his social media, expressed frustration, emphasizing that the world is turning a blind eye to the human rights abuses occurring in Congo. He urged people to redirect the same energy they have for the tournament towards highlighting the atrocities unfolding in his nation.


Eastern Congo has been grappling with persistent armed violence, as various factions vie for power and control over resources. The conflict reached a critical point in late 2021 when the rebel group M23 resurfaced, intensifying attacks to seize territory. The United Nations and human rights groups have implicated neighboring Rwanda in supporting M23, a claim vehemently denied by Rwanda. Just last week, an armed group, believed to be linked to the Islamic State, carried out an attack in Congo's North Kivu province, resulting in the tragic loss of at least 12 lives.


Mbemba echoed his teammate's concerns, expressing deep sorrow for the victims and their families, while expressing hope for peace to be restored in Congo. Despite these challenging circumstances, the Congolese national team, fondly known as the Leopards, has defied the odds to reach the semifinals of the Africa Cup. Their upcoming clash against Ivory Coast on Wednesday holds the promise of an intense battle, with the winner advancing to the final showdown against either Nigeria or South Africa. As the football world focuses on these thrilling matches, the plight of Congo serves as a poignant reminder of the broader humanitarian crises that demand global attention and action.

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