2014-10-16 19:06:00

Islamist militants continue violent campaign in Somalia

(Vatican Radio) At least five people were killed and several wounded when a car bomb planted by Islamist militant group al Shabaab exploded near restaurants on a busy street in the Somali capital on Wednesday.

Al Shabaab, which is attempting to topple the government, has frequently launched bomb and gun attacks in Mogadishu and promised more attacks after losing control of a major coastal stronghold this month.

Bishop Giorgio Bertin, Bishop of Djibouti and Apostolic Administrator of Mogadishu, spoke with Vatican Radio about the situation in Somalia. “During these last weeks, in fact, the Somali government and the African Mission to Somalia forces have conquered among others, the town of Brava in Southern Somalia,” he said. “The different [opponents]to the present to the present government, of federal union – al-Shabaab and perhaps also others – of course they cannot fight directly against an army, and so they have withdrawn to rural areas.” He said the insurgents have withdrawn to rural areas, or “mingled themselves among the civilian populations. Bishop Bertin says “attacks against the civilian population” are a response to military defeats.

Asked about the Church’s hopes for the future in Somalia, Bishop Bertin said, “For the Church, it is essential, it is important that the structures of the state are reborn, because these will guarantee a certain security, certain order, first of all for the local population, but also for us as Church because at the moment our presence is confined to humanitarian actions through our local partners.”

Listen to Bishop Giorgio Bertin’s remarks to Vatican Radio: 

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