Pope Francis is saddened by the “senseless killing in Mindanao” as he sent his message of sympathies to the families of the victims of attacks purportedly perpetrated by the breakaway Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.
The pontiff’s message was relayed by the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, Giuseppe Pinto, to Cardinal Orlando Quevedo, the archbishop of Cotabato and the highest-ranking leader of the Catholic Church in Mindanao.
“The Holy Father was deeply saddened to learn [about]the senseless killing of innocent people in Mindanao, and he sends condolences to the families of those who lost their lives,” a statement read.
The attacks happened in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao and North Cotabato.
Pope Francis said he hopes that security and safety “will be established” in the troubled region “so that dialogue, tolerance and peace may enable each person to live free from fear.”
“He asks all believers to reject violence in the name of God who is love, and invokes abundant divine gifts of consolation, mercy and strength upon those affected by this tragedy,” the statement said.