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Africa

2012-04-20

AFRICA/MALI-The humanitarian situation in northern Mali gets serious, the Bishops express appreciation for the transition

Bamako (Agenzia Fides) - "The humanitarian situation in northern Mali is worsening day by day. Food and medicine are increasingly rare, because grocery stores, hospitals and health centers were ransacked by the rebels" says to Fides Fr. Edmond Dembele, Secretary of the Episcopal Conference of Mali. "We try to establish humanitarian corridors, but in the absence of an agreement with the rebel movements, for the moment nothing has been done. The population in the north of Mali continue to flee to neighboring Countries or in the south of the Country."
"The Catholic Church has offered its facility to accommodate the refugees who arrive in Bamako and collaborates with the Protestant community to help 250 Protestant Christian refugees who have arrived in the capital. In particular, the Archbishop of Bamako, Mgr. Jean Zerbo, through Caritas has offered rice and other basic necessities. In other areas the refugees are still more numerous. But it is hard help all of them because there is no coordination of efforts at the state level," notes Fr. Dembele.
Politically, the military coup leaders released 22 personalities belonging to the past government and were arrested in past days, while the deposed President, Amadou Toumani Toure and his family, took refuge in Senegal. The new Premier, Diarra, has started talks to form a transitional government (see Fides 18/04/2012).
In a statement issued after the Ordinary Session of the Episcopal Conference, the Bishops of Mali expressed appreciation for the start of the transition to "bring back democracy, restore the State and the Constitution in order to preserve our Country from chaos ". In the document, sent to Fides, the Bishops thanked the ECOWAS mediators for their efforts that have allowed us to reach a compromise, to get Mali out of the institutional crisis caused by the coup on 22 March and ensure their prayers to the President interim, Dioncounda Traore, and Prime Minister, Cheick Modibo Diarra. Recalling that "since January 17, Mali sees three northern regions occupied by some armed groups," the Bishops recall the soldiers and civilians killed and launch an appeal for national unity. "We urge the political class and civil society to put the interests of the country above all. This is simply to save Mali and not the interests of a party or group." (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 20/4/2012)

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