VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis condemned on Wednesday the killing of scores of farmers and villagers in northeast Nigeria by suspected Islamist militants as a “terroristic massacre” that offended the name of God.
Francis spoke of Saturday’s attack during his weekly general audience, held virtually from his library in the Vatican because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I want to assure my prayers for Nigeria, which unfortunately once again has been bloodied by a terroristic massacre,” the pope said.
Around 30 of the men were beheaded in the attack, which began on Saturday morning in the village of Zabarmari, and the U.N. estimated that at least 110 people were killed across the Jere local government area of Borno state.
“May God welcome them into his peace and comfort their families, and may he convert the hearts of those who commit such horrors, which gravely offend His name,” Francis said.
There was no claim of responsibility for the attack.
Such massacres have been carried out in the past by Boko Haram or the Islamic State West Africa Province which are both active in the area, where Islamic militants have killed at least 30,000 people.
(Reporting by Philip Pullella, Editing by Timothy Heritage)