Pope Francis on Sunday, after the Angelus prayed for the victims of a violent attack in Somalia, those of a plane crash in Afghanistan and victims of a typhoon in the Philippines.
“Let us pray to the Lord for the victims of yesterday’s (Saturday) horrible terrorist attack in Mogadishu in Somalia, where the explosion of a car bomb killed more than 70 people”, he said.
The Pope also promised his closeness to “all of their family members and those who mourn their deaths”.
At least 90 people died and over 100 others were wounded after a car bomb attack in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. Somali authorities have said that the death toll is still expected to rise.
Somali President, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo, believes the al-Shabab armed group are behind the attack. He condemned the tragedy as a “heinous act of terror”.
The al-Shabab group, which once controlled much of the territory, was forced out of Mogadishu in 2011. Since then they have often carried out similar attacks in Somalia as well as in neighbouring Kenya.
The Pope prayed also for victims of a plane crash in Kazakhstan, in which at least 12 people were killed.
The Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, has sent a telegram on behalf of Pope Francis, expressing the Holy Father’s condolences for victims of a plane crash that occurred near the city of Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Pope Francis, the telegram says, was saddened to hear of the tragedy, and is praying “especially for the eternal repose of the deceased and for the healing of those injured”.
Twelve people were killed and dozens more were injured when the passenger plane crashed soon after take-off on Friday morning. The plane was carrying nearly one hundred passengers on a flight from Almaty to the capital Nur-Sultan (formerly Astana).
After reciting the St Stephen’s Day Angelus, Pope Francis prayed for the people of the Philippines, victims of Christmas Day Typhoon Phanfone which killed at least 13 people.
“I join in the suffering that has struck the dear people of the Philippines due to Typhoon Phanfone”, said the Pope.
He assured the Filippinos of his own prayers, “for the numerous victims, for the wounded and for their families”.
Typhoon Phanfone struck central Philippines on Christmas Day, killing at least 13 people. The number of people missing is still unsure, whilst around 60,000 have been evacuated.
In response to these tragedies, as the year draws to a close, Pope Francis concluded his Angelus message by saying, off the cuff, that he hopes the year may end in peace, with “peace in our hearts”.