Pope leads silent prayer for migrant desert dead

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has led tens of thousands of people in silent prayer in memory of African migrants who died of thirst after being stranded in the Sahara.

People packed in St. Peter's Square on Friday bowed their head as the pope asked for prayers for "our brothers and sisters" who perished "from thirst, hunger and exhaustion" trying to reach a better life.

Nearly 100 Africans met a grisly end in Niger after the trucks they were traveling in broke down in the middle of the Sahara before they could reach Algeria. Francis, speaking to the crowd on the All Saints Day holiday, lamented that "in these days we have seen the images of the cruel desert." Some 50 children were among the dead.

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