Pope decries Somali 'atrocities'

2010-08-25 13:09

Castel Gandolfo - Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday appealed to the international community to work to protect human life and rights in Somalia after some 65 civilians were killed in the latest wave of violence.

"My thoughts go out to Mogadishu where we continue to get news of violent atrocities like yesterday's scene of another massacre," said the pope at end of his weekly audience at his summer home outside Rome in Castel Gandolfo.

"I hope with the help of the international community, no effort will be spared to re-establish respect for life and human rights," he said.

The leader of the world's Roman Catholics expressed his concern for the "families of the victims and all those in Somalia who are suffering from the hatred and instability" in the Horn of Africa country.

Since Monday about 65 civilians have been killed in attacks in the Somali capital by the Islamist extremist Shabaab group with links to al-Qaeda.

On Tuesday the militants launched a suicide-attack on a hotel in Mogadishu killing 30 people including six members of parliament.

And on Wednesday, six more civilians died in clashes between the Shabaab fighters and government troops.

Since launching an offensive in May 2009, the Shabaab have waged near-daily battles to topple the Somali transitional government, and have greatly reduced the part of Mogadishu under its control.