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Pope prays for victims of Central Africa massacre

Pope Francis leads a mass to mark the World Day of the Poor, on November 18, 2018 at Saint Peter’s basilica in Vatican. (Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP)

Pope Francis on Sunday prayed for peace in the war-ravaged Central African Republic, where two priests were killed in ethnic unrest last week.

“I learned with sadness the news of the massacre two days ago in a camp for the displaced in the Central African Republic, where two priests were also killed,” the pope said during Angelus prayers at the Vatican.

“Let us pray for the dead and the wounded and for all violence to end in this beloved country so much in need of peace,” he said on the World Day of the Poor.

Sectarian clashes in the central town of Alindao claimed at least 37 lives last week, including those of two priests.

The United Nations said that some 20,000 people were affected by the violence. “Thousands” were forced to flee.

The bloodbath began on Thursday when Christian militiamen killed Muslims, prompting revenge attacks.

A church was also burnt.

One of the world’s poorest nations despite a rich supply of diamonds and uranium, CAR has struggled to recover from a 2013 civil war that erupted when President Francois Bozize, a Christian, was overthrown by mainly Muslim Seleka rebels.

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