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19 Catholics killed in Algeria's civil war beatified

by Eno Adeogun

The event - which took place in the city of Oran, was a first ceremony of its kind in a Muslim country.

The men and women killed from Tunisia, Spain, France, and Belgium were declared martyrs by the Vatican in January because it said they had been killed out of hatred for their faith.


This paved the way for their beatification which is the step before sainthood in the Catholic Church.

Those honoured included seven French Trappist monks who were kidnapped from their monastery in the capital 1996.

Their skulls were discovered two months later but their bodies were never found.

A radical anti-government group - the GIA, claimed responsibility for the killings.

The other Catholics were murdered in separate incidents.

Pope Francis said in a message that he hoped the beatification would "heal the wounds of the past and create a new dynamic of meeting and living together".

Roughly 1,200 people attended the event where a moment of silence was held for the 250,000 people killed as the army fought an Islamist insurgency between 1991 and 2002.

The ceremony also honoured 99 imams killed in the fighting.

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