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Kenya University Attack: Pope Francis Asks Gunmen to 'Come to Their Senses'

"May those who commit such brutality come to their senses and seek mercy," Pope Francis said.
Image: Pope Francis delivers his Easter message
Pope Francis delivers his Easter message from the central loggia of St Peters' basilica after the Easter Mass on April 5, 2015 in Vatican. AFP - Getty Images
/ Source: NBC News

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Thursday appealed to Somali Islamist militants who killed 148 people at a Kenyan university this month to stop their brutality and "come to their senses".

He told Kenyan bishops visiting the Vatican that he prayed for those killed by acts of terror, ethnic and tribal hostilities in Kenya and elsewhere in Africa.

"I think most especially of the men and women killed at Garissa University College," the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics said.

"May those who commit such brutality come to their senses and seek mercy."

The gunmen hunted down Christians while sparing Muslims in the attack on April 2. Francis has repeatedly expressed alarm about Christians being targeted for their faith and condemned the beheading of 21 Egyptian Copts in Libya in February.

He urged the visiting bishops to work with Christian and non-Christian leaders to promote peace in predominantly-Christian Kenya.

Al Shabaab said Garissa was revenge for Kenya sending troops into Somalia to fight alongside African Union peacekeepers against the Islamist group.


— Reuters
A Kenya Defence forces soldier walks past the front entrance of Moi University Garissa on April 3, 2015. Kenya's interior minister vowed that the country would not bow to terrorist threats, a day after the massacre of 147 students by Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab fighters.CARL DE SOUZA / AFP - Getty Images