VATICAN CITY (AP) " Pope Francis is decrying persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and praying they receive "full rights."
The pontiff said Sunday there was "sad news about the persecution of the religious minority of our Rohingya brothers."
Thousands of Rohingya are trying to flee into Bangladesh after escalated deadly violence at home. Last week, Rohingya militants attacked police and border outposts, and security forces responded.
Francis asked the faithful in St. Peter's Square to pray that God "saves them" and they receive help.
A Myanmar bishop recently said Francis will "most likely" visit Myanmar, while the Vatican has said only a pilgrimage is being considered.
Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi has blasted the Rohingya militant attacks as a bid to undermine efforts to "build peace and harmony in Rakhine state."