Pope calls for a halt to violence in Nigeria

June 20, 2012 - 6:47 AM

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The pope has appealed for those responsible for multiple attacks in northeastern Nigeria targeting Christians to "stop immediately."

A radical Islamist sect has claimed responsibility for suicide attacks on two churches Sunday that left at least 21 people dead. The killings led to reprisal attacks, highlighting festering religious tensions in Nigeria. The sect killed at least 25 more in attacks Tuesday.

Pope Benedict XVI appealed "to those responsible for the violence so that the spilling of blood of so many innocent (people) stop immediately," and urged Nigerian society to find a way to avoid "the path of vendetta."

In his audience Wednesday, the pope called on Nigerians to build a society where "the right to profess one's own faith is fully protected."