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Pope saddened by Ghana’s loss

Rome - Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday sent a message of condolence to Ghana, following the sudden death this week of president John Atta Mills, and paid homage to a politician widely lauded for his integrity.

“It was with sadness that I learned of the untimely death of president John Atta Mills,” the pope said in a message to the new president, John Dramani Mahama, who was sworn in on Tuesday following the 68-year-old's death.

Pope Benedict XVI. Photo: Riccardo De Luca. Credit: Associated Press

“Recalling his years of public service and his dedication to democratic principles, I join you, his family, and all the people of Ghana in mourning his passing,” he said in the letter, sent from his holiday home, Castel Gandolfo.

“Entrusting the late president's soul to the providence of almighty God, I pray that Ghana will be blessed with peace and prosperity as you begin your service as president in these sad circumstances,” he added.

Mills' death came five months ahead of elections in the country seen as a bastion of democracy in west Africa.

The cause of death was not given, but there were unconfirmed reports in local media that he had suffered from throat cancer. - Sapa-AFP

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