'Lay Down Your Weapons' Pope Told Central African Factions

Bangui (Central African Republic) (AFP) - Pope Francis on Sunday urged the warring sides in Central African Republic to lay down their weapons on a landmark visit to a country ripped apart by sectarian strife.

"To all those who make unjust use of the weapons of this world, I make this appeal: lay down these instruments of death! Arm yourselves instead with righteousness, with love and mercy, the authentic guarantors of peace," he said at a mass in the cathedral in the capital, Bangui.

Central African Republic descended into bloodshed more than two years ago after longtime leader Francois Bozize, a Christian, was ousted by fighters in the mainly Muslim Seleka force, triggering the worst crisis since independence in 1960.

Since then, the chronically restive former French colony has been gripped by violence between the Seleka fighters and Christian militias known as "anti-balaka" or anti-machete.

Source: AFP
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