Pontiff Urges Peace in Somalia


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Benedict XVI today urged respect for life and human rights in Somalia, where a clash between government forces and Islamist insurgents has resulted in as many as 80 deaths.

The Pope made an appeal for Mogadishu today at the end of the general audience, held in Castel Gandolfo.

Violence erupted in the Somali capital on Monday between the Al-Qaeda-inspired al-Shabab rebels and government forces backed by the African Union.

"My thoughts go to Mogadishu," the Pontiff said, "from where news continues to arrive of cruel violence and which yesterday became the scene of a new massacre. I am [united] with the families of the victims and of all those who, in Somalia, are suffering because of hatred and instability. I hope that, with the help of the international community, no efforts will be spared to re-establish respect for life and for human rights."