By Joe Bavier BANGUI (Reuters) - Pope Francis began the final leg of his first African trip in Central African Republic where he will deliver a message of reconciliation and peace to a nation racked by several years of violence between Muslims and Christians. The pope's plane touched down at around 10 a.m. (0900 GMT) at the airport in the capital Bangui, where he was greeted by dignitaries, including the city's Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga. Ahead of his arrival, thousands of people lined the route Francis was due take into the city and hundreds of boy scouts were deployed to help control the crowds.
Pope Francis arrived as "a pilgrim of peace" in conflict-ridden Central African Republic on Sunday, flying in from Uganda on what will be the most dangerous destination of his three-nation Africa tour. Thousands of believers, many from neighbouring countries, are expected to pour into CAR's capital Bangui to see the 78-year-old pontiff on his landmark visit to one of Africa's poorest and most unstable countries. "I come to the Central African Republic as a pilgrim of peace and as an apostle of hope," the pope said on his official Twitter feed as his plane touched down at around 10:00 am (0900 GMT) at Bangui's international airport where he was greeted by acting CAR president Catherine Samba-Panza.