Pope appeals for end to massacres in Africa

 While the news tends to be dominated by the war in Iraq, the Pope said yesterday that violence is also raging in other parts of the world. Speaking to pilgrims in St Peter's Square, he appealed for an end to the massacres and summary executions in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, asking for dialogue among leaders and for peace in the region. The Holy Father said: "While in Baghdad and in other places in Iraq the clashes continue with destruction and death, news which is no less worrying comes from the African continent, from which in the past few days we have received news about massacres and summary executions. 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 the politicians in charge, as well as to all men and women of good will, so that they commit themselves to bring an end to the violence and abuse, putting aside personal selfishness and group interests, with the active collaboration of the international community." "For this reason, every effort at reconciliation among the Congolese, Ugandan and Rwandan peoples must be encouraged, as well as similar efforts that are in underway in Burundi and in the Sudan, with the hope that from these efforts peace which is so desired, can bloom."

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