AFRICA/MOZAMBIQUE - Appeal of the Bishop of Pemba to "act on the root of the conflict, namely the control of natural resources"

Tuesday, 22 December 2020 wars   jihadists   bishops  

Maputo (Agenzia Fides) - The natural resources of the area are at stake in the conflict in northern Mozambique where, simultaneously with the start of the exploitation of gas and oil fields, a rebellion has emerged which then transformed into an armed group affiliated with the so-called Islamic State. This is what was highlighted by His Exc. Mgr. Luiz Fernando Lisboa, Bishop of Pemba, Mozambican Diocese in the province of Cabo Delgado, at the center of the crisis.
Bishop Lisboa made an urgent appeal to the European Union and to the former colonial power, Portugal, to review the terms under which the most industrialized countries approach countries with a fragile economy but rich in resources.
"Portugal would do well to launch a debate within the European Union concerning the use of resources in the world: how are we currently dealing with the situation? What kind of new colonialism are we practicing in relation to the resources that exist in Africa and other poorer places in the world?", said Mgr. Lisboa in an online session, promoted by Catholic organizations in Portugal.
The Bishop of Pemba affirms that the European Union can do a lot "in terms of humanitarian aid" and must act to discover "the causes of this war, in order to go to the root of the problem". "Economic motivations are at the forefront" of the origin of conflicts, because if religious extremism constitutes "an important element, it is not the main one", since "wars break out where there are many natural resources".
The Mozambican government has its responsibilities, the Bishop recalls because "Cabo Delgado has been ignored, left behind for a long time. This is one of the reasons that made young people feel attracted to rebel groups".
Since 2017, the violence perpetrated by the rebels in the province of Cabo Delgado has left 2,000 dead and forced 600,000 displaced persons. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 22/12/2020)