Pope calls for end to violence in Somalia, Sudan and Burundi.

Pope Benedict XVI 

Halkaan ka akhri

 VATICAN CITY (AFP) – Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday made an impassioned plea for an end to conflicts in Somalia, Sudan’s western Darfur region and Burundi.”The news reaching us from some African countries continues to be a cause of deep distress and concern,” he said, lamenting “bitter armed conflicts” in Somalia, hundreds of thousands “left to their own devices” in Darfur and clashes in the Burundi capital Bujumbura.

Benedict called on “local political officials and the international community to respect their commitments to end the violence.”

The pope told pilgrims in St Peter’s Square: “In Somalia, particuliarly in Mogadishu, violent armed clashes make the humanitarian situation more and more dire for this dear population, oppressed over too many long years by brutality and poverty.

“In Darfur, thousands of defenseless people fending for themselves still live in an endless tragedy,” the 81-year-old pope said.

In Burundi, the pontiff said recent clashes had “terrorised the inhabitants of the capital” Bujumbura.

He urged “all parties concerned to take the path of dialogue and reconciliation in the face of the risk of a new civil war.

“I have great hope that the local political authorities and the international community will make every effort to end the violence and honour their commitments, to put down solid foundations for peace and development,” Benedict said.

The United Nations has estimated that the conflict in Darfur has claimed 300,000 lives since 2003.

In Somalia, at least 63 people were killed in Mogadishu last weekend in fighting between insurgents and Ethiopian troops allied with the Somali government, according to an AFP tally.

Burundi rebels launched an offensive on April 17 in Bujumbura and four western provinces with a death toll of at least 38, according to military sources, while others say many more were killed.

The central African country is still barely recovering from the aftermath of a civil war that started in 1993 and claimed 300,000 lives.

SomaliSwiss  AFP


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