Vatican City -

Pope Benedict XVI has asked the international community to provide assistance in the “grave humanitarian crisis” in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the government is battling rebels.

Benedict, speaking at his general audience Wednesday, decried the “troubling news” that large numbers of people lack basic necessities and that many have fled their homes.

He says, “I therefore renew my appeal for dialogue and reconciliation and I ask the international community come to the aid of the needs of the population.” - Sapa-AP