-- ZENIT.org News Agency
Pope Expresses Sadness Over Venezuelan Prison Riot Victims
Death Toll Reaches 61 During Raid by National Guard
By Junno De Jesús Arocho Esteves
CARACAS, January 31, 2013 (Zenit.org) - In a telegram addressed to Archbishop Antonio José López Castillo of Barquisimeto in Venezuela, the Pope Benedict XVI expressed his over the recent riot that took place in Uribana Prison.
The riot broke out on January 25thwhen Venezuela National Guard faced heavy resistance from armed inmates. The National Guard was to carry out a raid in order to confiscate illegal weapons in the prison. The death toll has reached 61 and expected to increase, while over 120 have been seriously injured. After two days of riots, the Uribana prison has been closed.
In the message sent by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Holy Father conveyed his "deepest sympathy and spiritual closeness to the families of the victims, and prays for a speedy and full recovery of the wounded."
"The Pope encourages all institutions and persons involved to continue working in a spirit of collaboration and good will to overcome the problems so as to avoid future repetition of such dramatic events."
Cardinal Bertone concluded his telegram to Archbishop López Castillo imparting the Holy Father's Apostolic Blessing "as a sign of hope and consolation in this time of sadness."
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