VATICAN CITY (CNS): Pope John Paul II has offered prayers for about 160 ethnic Tutsis massacred in a Burundian refugee camp and asked his ambassador to Burundi to convey his condolences to their families and to the more than 100 people injured.
Archbishop Paul Gallagher, papal nuncio to Burundi, told Catholic News Service that the scene at th
Fe Gatumba refugee camp was “quite horrific’.
“It is a very large field with groups of very simple tents erected by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. About half the tents are burned completely or partially,” he said on August 16 in a telephone interview as he prepared to return to Gatumba for an ecumenical funeral service.
A Burundian Hutu rebel group, the Forces for National Liberation, took responsibility for the August 13 raid on the camp, claiming there were Tutsi rebels hiding there.
Pope John Paul sent his condolences in an August 15 telegram to the archbishop and prayed that God would welcome the deceased “into his peace’.