Mathew Dadiya, Abuja with agency reports
Pope Francis and President Muhammadu Buhari have condemned the deadly Easter attacks on Christians in Sri Lanka.
Speaking on Sunday while celebrating Easter Mass denounced the “cruel violence” of the Easter Sunday when Christians and foreigners in Sri Lanka were massacred.
The Pope expressed the sadness while celebrating the most important mass for Catholic faithful as well as Christian liturgical calendar, lamenting the bloodshed and political violence afflicting many parts of the world.
Francis skipped his homily during Easter Mass but delivered his traditional “Urbi et Orbi” (To the city and the world) speech highlighting conflicts in the Mideast, Africa and the Americas and demanding that political leaders put aside their differences and work instead for peace.
“May the one who gives us his peace end the roar of arms, both in areas of conflict and in our cities, and inspire the leaders of nations to work for an end to the arms race and the troubling spread of weaponry, especially in the economically more advanced countries,” Francis said from the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica overlooking the flower-decked square below.
In a special appeal at the end, Francis lamented the “grave attacks” on Sri Lankan hotels and churches, which occurred just as the Christian faithful were celebrating Easter Mass that marks the resurrection of Christ following his crucifixion.
“I want to express my loving closeness to the Christian community, targeted while they were gathered in prayer, and all the victims of such cruel violence,” Francis said.
“I entrust to the Lord all those who were tragically killed and pray for the injured and all those who are suffering as a result of this dramatic event.”
Also, President, Muhammadu Buhari expressed shock and sadness over what he described as “the terrible attacks” on several churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.
The President on behalf of his administration and people of Nigeria, extended his deepest condolences to the families of those killed in the attacks and wishes speedy recovery to the injured.
Buhari, in a statement on Sunday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, condoled with the victims and their families, saying that “we stand with victims of terrorism all over the world because we know and understand this harrowing inhuman activity.”
Assuring that Nigeria stands with the people of Sri Lankan at this “terrible moment,” President Buhari urged the authorities not to spare the wicked elements behind the mischievous attacks.
More than 130 people were killed and hundreds wounded following near-simultaneous blasts at three Sri Lankan churches and three hotels frequented by foreigners.