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Africa

2003-09-15

AFRICA/GUINEA BISSAU - EYEWITNESS MISSIONARY RETURNED FROM GUINEA BISSAU

(Rome) Fides Service) – “When I left Bissau on Saturday afternoon and there was no sign whatsoever of a coup” Father Agostino Martini head of the Venetian province of the Friars Minor told Fides. “Although, to tell the truth, the people were exasperated by the intemperance of President Kuma Yalla, often drunk and considered unfit for government and unable to fulfil his duties.”
According to Father Martini, who has visited Guinea Bissau eleven times, “the economic situation has worsened considerably in recent years and continual postponement of elections built an atmosphere of tension”.
“At the moment the situation is calm” Friars Minor in Brand community tell Fides Service, “people move freely about, shops are open and people are at work as usual. The Franciscan Sisters who run our health centre are on duty as usual. The military members of the Committee for the Restoration of Constitutional Order and Democracy are holding a meeting with political, social and religious representatives in view of the constitution of a temporary civilian led government.”
In Guinea Bissau there are 6 communities of Friars Minor with 13 Friars from the Venetian province and 8 local religious priests. They run a seminary where at present there are 6 students of philosophy and theology. ANSA news agency says land and air borders should be re-opened this morning. LM (Fides Service 15/9/2003 EM lines 24 Words: 254)

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