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Bishop sees promise in election of new Somali president

Catholic World News - September 12, 2012

The apostolic administrator of Somalia’s only Catholic diocese has welcomed the election of a new president for the troubled African country.

The new parliament’s selection of Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud “could be the turning point to see the revival of the state,” Bishop Giorgio Bertin told the Fides news service. He said the election was “promising.”

Somalia has been without an effective national government since 1991, when a coalition of tribal leaders overthrew the Communist government headed by General Mohamed Siad Barre. Since that time, rival clan warlords and Islamic groups have struggled for control of the territory.

Bishop Bertin reports that since the inauguration of a new parliament in August, Somali leaders have carefully balanced clan claims, and the new president will name a prime minister from another clan. Meanwhile Islamic militants have lost power, he said.

Bishop Bertin’s primary role is as Bishop of Djibouti. His secondary role as apostolic administrator of Mogadishu is mostly symbolic, since he has not been allowed into Somalia for four years, and there are no Christians known to remain in the overwhelmingly Muslim country.

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