Pope denounces kidnapping of Eritrean migrants in Sinai

Vatican City – Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday urged an end to the plight of dozens of migrants, mainly from Eritrea, believed to be held hostage by human traffickers, along the Egypt-Israel border.

The pontiff also denounced the violent clashes in Egypt during the country’s elections and called for an end to terrorist attacks against both Muslims and Christians in Iraq.

Benedict made the appeals after delivering his Sunday Angelus blessing before thousands of people gathered in St Peter’s Square.
The pontiff referred to the “victims of traffickers and criminals as in the ordeal of the hostages from Eritrea and other nations in the Sinai Desert”.

Several humanitarian organisations say at least 80 Eritrean refugees have been held hostage by traffickers on the Egypt-Israel border for over the last 30 days.

According to some reports, the smugglers are demanding payment of 8,000 dollars per refugee before releasing them.

“The respect of the rights of all is the prerequisite for civil co-existence,” Benedict said.

“Our prayer to the Lord and our solidarity can bring hope to those who are suffering,” the pontiff said