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Bishop sees 'decisive moment' for Somalia to emerge from chaos

August 21, 2012

As 215 members were sworn in to a new parliament in Somalia, the Vatican’s representative for that country voiced his hope that Somalia would finally bring order to the African nation, after 21 years without effective national leadership.

Bishop Giorgio Bertin—who is apostolic administrator of Mogadishu, Somalia, although he has not been allowed to visit the country for four years—said that the establishment of the new parliament seems “the best time for the rebirth of the Somali state.”

The parliament seeks to take control as the mandate ends for a “transitional government” backed by international powers. The transitional government failed to gain full control over the control, which remains divided by competing warlords and Islamic militants. Clan leaders have appointed the members of the new parliament, since the country’s chaotic conditions prevented a popular vote.

Any Christians who remain in Somalia are now living in hiding, Bishop Bertin observed. The last resident Bishop of Mogadishu, Pietro Colombo, was murdered in 1989. The last women religious working in Somalia fled in 2006.


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