News Daily Spot: Pope arrives in Africa with hope to heal divisions

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Pope arrives in Africa with hope to heal divisions

Pope Francisco said Wednesday it wants to offer "spiritual and material" support Africans in their first trip to the Continent, where he will address a multitude of Catholics and seek to heal divisions between Christians and Muslims.

The pope made the remarks before his plane landed in the Kenyan capital, where senior clerics and hundreds of people gathered at the airport to receive him, Reuters reported.

After visiting Kenya, Uganda Francisco travel to another nation that has been the target of attacks by Islamic militants, and the Central African Republic, a country torn by conflict between Muslim and Christian country.

"I will happily to Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic brothers," Francis told reporters on his flight to Nairobi. "Hopefully this trip to be successful, both spiritual and material," he added.

Millions of Christians-Catholics and others would participate in a public mass, which pose a challenge to the national security forces in their efforts to protect the pope and large crowds.

Kenya has been the target of a series of attacks by Somali Islamist group al Shabaab in the past two years that have left hundreds dead. In 2013, an attack by gunmen from al Shabaab a Nairobi mall left 67 dead.

The most potentially dangerous stop would be the third leg of the journey, the Central African Republic, where dozens of people have died since September in violence between Muslim rebels and mostly Christian militias.

The African Catholic Church is growing rapidly, with an estimated 200 million adherents in 2012, a figure that would reach 500 million by 2050. About 30 percent of the 45 million Kenyans are baptized Catholics, including President Uhuru Kenyatta.

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