Mogadishu (Agenzia Fides) - The election of Hassan Sceikh Mahamud, former president and founder of a private university, has received warm congratulations from international and regional leaders and has already moved the waters in the Horn of Africa (see Fides, 20/5/2022). On the possible new direction in Somalia, Agenzia Fides spoke with Msgr. Giorgio Bertin, Bishop of Djibouti and Apostolic Administrator of Mogadishu. Your Excellency, there is talk of a new direction in Somalia with the election of Hassan Sceikh Mahamud, what do you think? "It is difficult to talk about a new direction in Somalia: I have seen 'new directions' in this land. With the election of a new President, there is always a rebirth of hope that then fades over the years, and this was also the case when Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo was elected. We had many hopes which then faded. I look at the results of these elections with great caution and I stand, along with my faithful, on the side of those who hope and not those who despair: we must always give the new administration that is born a chance, but bearing in mind the obstacles, like the structures of the clans, the international actors, who influence ".
How are you experiencing this period of severe drought?
"In some ways, drought is endemic in Djibouti, while the situation in Somalia is dramatic also due to the absence of state institutions that are able to govern the entire territory. In addition, the al-Shabāb, who do not want normalization in Somalia, operate in rural areas. In this country, in addition to the natural disaster, there is also the catastrophe of the institutions. Ethiopia is also slipping down a very dangerous path".
As Caritas Somalia, in the Somali region of Puntland you financed the Dryland project in 2012, which ended in 2015 with the creation of 103 water wells, currently benefiting 18,000 people.
What is your commitment now for this emergency?
"There are opportunities to help, we have done it and we are doing it. We are now responding to this terrible emergency with immediate help for the displaced and commitment to development. We have seen that it is possible to carry out projects like the ones we have done. There is always the possibility of working in Somalia" (see Fides, 23/5/2022) Father Giorgio concludes the interview with a key word for Somali culture: "Nabad, peace. May peace reign in Somalia! With peace and reconciliation everything is possible". (GF/AP) (Agenzia Fides, 1/6/2022)