Somali bishop questions prudence of US air strikes

.- A Catholic bishop is calling for prudence after a U.S. air strike on Monday and for the international community to assist Somalis in creating a policy that will help them restore peace in the country on their own terms.

Bishop Giorgio Bertin of Djibouti, who is also apostolic administrator of Mogadishu, expressed his concern to Fides after the U.S. air force targeted Islamist fighters in the village of Badel, in southern Somalia. The attack reportedly killed a terrorist who was involved in the 1998 attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Other terrorists are said to be present in the region, including those responsible for the murder of Italian doctor Annalena Tonelli in 2003.

“This [U.S.] action could add fuel to an explosive situation,” the bishop told Fides. “I doubt the air strike will increase the support of the people for the fragile interim government and Ethiopia.”

Somalia’s interim president, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, arrived in Mogadishu on Jan. 8 for first time since his election in October 2004. He said the U.S. army has the right to attack Al Qaeda terrorists wherever they are in the world and that the air strikes in Somalia were part of this plan.
 
“There can and must be other ways of stopping extremism,” the bishop continued. “Sowing death and destruction, apart from the moral aspects, is counter-productive also for the fight against terrorism.”

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