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Pope prays for Tutsis massacred in Burundian refugee camp

Pope John Paul II has offered prayers for the 160 ethnic Tutsis massacred in a Burundian refugee camp, and asked his ambassador to Burundi to convey his condolences to their families and to the more than 100 people injured.

Archbishop Paul Gallagher, papal nuncio to Burundi, told Catholic News Service that the scene at the Gatumba refugee camp was "quite horrific".

"It is a very large field with groups of very simple tents erected by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

About half the tents are burned completely or partially," he said as he prepared to return to Gatumba for an ecumenical funeral service.

A Burundian Hutu rebel group, the Forces for National Liberation, took responsibility for Friday's raid on the camp, claiming there were Tutsi rebels hiding there. The Hutu rebels, apparently assisted by Hutus from Congo and Rwanda, entered the camp late at night, burned the tents while people were sleeping, shot some of the victims and hacked others to death.

Pope offers prayers for Tutsis massacred in Burundian refugee camp (Catholic News Service 16/8/04)
Pope Assails Massacre of Refugees in Burundi (Zenit 16/8/04)
DR Congo army 'massacred Tutsis' (BBC 17/8/04)
Pope to celebrate mass, beatify three at Loreto (Catholic News Agency 17/8/04)
Pope Calls Women to Be Witnesses of "Essential Values" (Zenit 16/8/04)

18 Aug 2004