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Pope Benedict deplores outbreaks of violence, prays for conversion of attackers

.- Shortly after completing the Angelus prayer and his reflections on Advent, Pope Benedict turned his attention to the outbreaks of violence in India and Nigeria and deplored the thinking of the attackers.

The terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India began on Wednesday evening but were only brought to an end on Saturday. The perpetrators of the attacks and their motives remain unidentified, but close to 200 people were killed in the armed siege of eight different locations in Mumbai’s commerce and film districts.

Immediately following the attacks Pope Benedict condemned the violence and offered his prayers for the victims and their families.

The violence in central Nigerian city of Jos erupted after the results of regional elections were announced on Friday. The party which is generally associated with Christians, the People’s Democratic Party, was declared the victor in the elections, but the announcement was quickly greeted with accusations of rigging from the backers of the Muslim-associated All Nigeria People’s Party.

Rioting ensued, and the casualties are estimated to be in the hundreds. Although conflicts in the region are generally over resources, the violence usually breaks along ethnic and religious lines.

Speaking from the window of his study overlooking St. Peter's Square on Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI reacted to the news of the violence.

"There are many causes and circumstances behind these events but we must all feel the horror for and deplore the explosion of so much cruel and senseless violence,” he said.

“Let us ask the Lord to touch the hearts of those who are under the illusion that this is the path to solve local or international problems. Let us all be stirred to give an example of meekness and love so that we can build a society worthy of God and man," the Pope exhorted.

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