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Pope calls Mindanao attacks ‘senseless’

Church • 06:03 AM Thu Dec 31, 2015
R. Lagarde/CBCPNews
Pope Francis

MANILA — Pope Francis has condemned assaults by a breakaway Muslim rebel group that killed at least nine civilians in Southern Philippines, calling the act senseless”.In simultaneous attacks, outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters killed (BIFF) seven farmers and two other civilians in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, and North Cotabato provinces on Christmas eve.Responding army soldiers also killed four rebels in the Sultan Kudarat attack.The Pope, who visited the top Catholic country in Asia almost a year ago, said he was saddened by the attacks and asked all believers to reject violence in the name of God”.The pontiff’s feelings were expressed in a telegram sent by his Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin to Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of the Cotabato archdiocese on Monday, Dec. 28. The Holy Father was deeply saddened to learn [about] the senseless killing of innocent people in Mindanao, and he sends condolences to the families of those who lost their lives,” the statement read.The pontiff is also hoping that security and safety will be established” in the troubled region so that dialogue, tolerance, and peace may enable each person to live free from fear.”Pope Francis also called on the faithful to join him in praying for the victims and their families.The BIFF broke away from the mainstream Moro Islamic Liberation Front in 2010 due to disagreements over the peace deal with the government which aims to end decades of turmoil in Mindanao.(R. Lagarde/CBCPNews)

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