AFRICA/MOZAMBIQUE - "Aid to the displaced should also go to the local population to avoid tensions" asks the Apostolic Administrator of Pemba

Wednesday, 16 June 2021 bishops   displaced persons  

Maputo (Agenzia Fides) - "The interventions must integrate aspects of good coexistence between the displaced and the local population. The aid should not go only to the displaced, totally ignoring the local population", said His Exc. Mgr. António Juliasse Sandramo, Apostolic Administrator of Pemba, the provincial capital in northern Mozambique, where displaced people from areas affected by the violence of armed groups are being welcomed, at least one of whom claims to have joined the Islamic State. Attacks and clashes with the Mozambican army have already caused more than 2,800 deaths and 714,000 displaced. According to Mgr. Sandramo, in order to avoid rivalry and conflicts between the local population and the new arrivals, it is necessary to share the resources mobilized to welcome the displaced; from the land to building materials for houses, to basic necessities. It is also necessary to stop the conflict, says Mgr. Sandramo, through dialogue with the Islamic populations and within the Muslim communities themselves. "Dialogue with Muslim brothers and among themselves must be encouraged", says the Bishop. "In particular, families must find ways to dialogue with young people to show them that the true face of the Islamic religion is not violence". "Violence and extremism are not the true face of Islam", he points out. Finally, Bishop Juliasse points out that, in the absence of security, international investors withdraw: "If there is no security, it is difficult to attract investment. Some investments have been stopped precisely because of insecurity". For his part, the head of Social Communications of the diocese of Pemba, Fr. Kwiriwi Fonseca, has raised the alarm on the kidnapping of children and young people by jihadist groups who are then forcibly recruited into their ranks (see Fides, 8/6/2021 ). Although there is no official data on the number of missing children and young people, "they are several hundred, if we take into consideration the different villages from where they have been kidnapped", says the priest. The boys are trained as fighters while the girls suffer sexual violence and are given in marriage to jihadists. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 16/6/2021)