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Somalis were already long-suffering people, pope laments in prayer for Saturday’s victims

SOMALIA ATTACK
Sadak Mohamed | Anadolu Agency | AFP
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Francis repeats: Violence in name of religion gravely offends God, who is peace and source of peace

Today during the general audience, Pope Francis condemned Saturday’s twin bomb attack in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, saying that the “terrorist act deserves to be most strongly deplored, also because it falls on a population that is already suffering deeply.”

“I implore the conversion of those who are violent and send my encouragement to those, who with enormous difficulties, are working for peace in that tortured land,” he said.

Somalia is considered Africa’s most-failed state.

An article last year in The Economist offered this summary of its trials:

After a quarter-century of costly foreign intervention, Somalia is still Africa’s most-failed state. At no point since 1991, when the despot Siad Barre was overthrown by rebels, have Somalis had a government worthy of the name. Officials from Mogadishu cannot safely visit much of the country, let alone govern it (even excluding Somaliland, a region in the north that has been de facto independent since 1991). War, famine and terrorism have prompted legions of Somalis to flee. A sixth of them—2m out of a population of perhaps 12m—now live abroad. For those who remain, life expectancy is just 55 years, and barely a third can read.

The Somali president is blaming Saturday’s attack on Al-Shabaab, a jihadist fundamentalist group based in East Africa with allegiance to Al-Qaeda, though the group hasn’t claimed responsibility.

The death toll is already at more than 300, though bodies are still being sought; most are burned beyond recognition.

In addition to his prayer for Somalia, Pope Francis also denounced again today all violence in the name of religion.

This he did when he addressed a delegation of 80 members of “Religions for Peace,” who met him in the Vatican.

Violent acts in the name of religion “gravely offend God, ‎who is peace and the source of peace, and has left in ‎human beings a reflection of his wisdom, power ‎and beauty,” the pope said.

Religions for Peace is the world’s largest and most representative multi-religious coalition that advances common action among the world’s religious communities to transform violent conflict, advance human development, promote just and harmonious societies, and protect the earth.

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