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By Philip Pullella and Joe Bavier BANGUI (Reuters) - Protected by the heaviest security ever seen on his trips, Pope Francis on Sunday preached reconciliation in the divided Central African Republic, a nation racked by bloodshed between Muslims and Christians. As the pope's Alitalia plane touched down from Uganda to start his first visit to a war zone, attack helicopters patrolled the skies and armoured personnel carriers from French and U.N. peacekeeping forces waited outside the airport. Special security forces wearing patches of the yellow and white colours of the Vatican flag were on hand to help his normal Vatican security retinue.
Thousands gathered for the funeral of Tahir Elci, a Kurdish lawyer and human rights activist gunned down on Saturday in a southern eastern city at the center of months of violence. The funerals for the two policemen killed in the attack in Diyarbakir also took place. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Sunday the gun found next to Elci's body was the same weapon used in the attack on the police officers.