AFRICA/MOZAMBIQUE - Humanitarian situation is increasingly alarming; the Bishops "Perspectives should be given to young people to stop the war"

Monday, 19 April 2021 displaced persons   bishops   violence   armed groups  

Maputo (Agenzia Fides) - It is estimated that 11,104 people (1,452 families) who fled the city of Palma (see Fides, 27/3/2021) have been welcomed in a school in Quitunda. This was stated by the International Organization for Migrants (IOM).
According to the IOM, 30 percent of displaced families (431) sleep outdoors, while the remaining 70 percent (1,021 families) live in makeshift shelters. As many as 62% of the displaced are children, 21% men and 17% women. The main need of these people is food, the second to have a place in the tents or other equipment to be able to take shelter, and thirdly, the lack of blankets and clothing. The bishops have issued a statement on the serious situation in the north of the country.
"We deplore and condemn all the barbaric acts committed", say the bishops of Mozambique in a statement sent to Fides, approved in the current plenary session in Maputo.
The Bishops of Mozambique deplore the "tragic situation in which the people of Cabo Delgado live" where "defenseless people are killed, wounded and mistreated, their properties looted, their homes destroyed and the bodies of their families desecrated while the survivors are forced to abandon the land where they were born and where their ancestors are buried"
The Episcopal Conference of Mozambique (CEM) denounces the growing and consolidated "perception that behind this conflict there are interests of diverse nature and origins, or of the intention of some groups to appropriate the nation and its resources". The province of Cabo Delgago is rich in gas and oil fields as well as precious stones, but "the lack of transparency" on their correct use, the Bishops write, is "a source of discontent, division and mourning that fuel revolt and resentment".
"We recognize that one of the strongest impulses that motivate our young people to allow themselves to be seduced and join the various forms of insurrection, from crime to terrorism, or even that other insurrection, no less harmful, of political or religious extremism, is based on the experience of a lack of hope in a favorable future", the Bishops affirm. "For most young people, there are no opportunities to build a decent life", while society and political leaders "ignore their suffering and do not listen to their voice".
The Bishops reiterate that "nothing justifies violence", they express "total solidarity with the weakest and with young people who aspire to a dignified life" and recall that "religions have a great contribution to make in the resilience of communities and in persecuting an ideal of a united and supportive society".
The CEM asks that "national political forces, organizations present in the country, the international community join forces and help displaced populations, create more job and development opportunities for all" and ask that "all contribute to peace, to the protection of the population, to the blocking of the financing of the war, to the isolation and detention of individuals or groups that take advantage of the tragedy in Cabo Delgado". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 19/4/2021)