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Pope appeals for end to massacres in Africa

In a week dominated by the war in Iraq, the Holy Father turned his mind to Africa and decried the violence happening in several countries.

Speaking to pilgrims in St Peter's Square, he singled out the massacre in Congo that killed almost 1000 people. He said the killings and summary executions were "no less worrisome" than the news of "destruction and deaths" in Iraq.

"These crimes have taken place in the tormented region of the Great Lakes, and in particular in an area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

"In raising a fervent prayer to God for the repose of the souls of the victims, I direct a heartfelt appeal ... to bring an end to the violence and abuse, putting aside personal selfishness and group interests, with the active collaboration of the international community."

The Congolese government and the United Nations have agreed to joint investigations of the killing of 966 people in an assault last Thursday on a Catholic mission and surrounding villages in the north-east of the vast central African country.

Independent Catholic News/Ireland Online

Pope Draws Attention to Bloodshed in Africa (Catholic World News)
U.N. confirms Congo massacre (CNN)

10 Apr 2003