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Bishops in Mozambique Express “fraternal closeness” With Violence-stricken Citizens

Families fleeing violence in the Cabo Delgado province arrive at the port city of Pemba.

Members of the Episcopal Conference of Mozambique (CEM) have expressed their solidarity with the people of God in the Province of Cabo Delgado, within the Catholic Diocese of Pemba who are experiencing violent attacks from jihadists. 

“The Bishops express their fraternal closeness to the brothers and fellow citizens of Cabo Delgado and ensure their constant prayer in the hope of finding ways of dialogue that will facilitate an end to the terrible conflict and the resulting humanitarian drama,” CEM members have been quoted as saying in a Wednesday, November 18 news report.

In the news report, CEM members underscore “the importance of education to achieve greater social development, as well as the urgent need to recover the historical memory of Mozambique in order to achieve a true path of national reconciliation.”

They further say that it is the responsibility of everyone to find solutions to the prolonged crisis.  

Cabo Delgado has been witnessing violence since October 2017 when an Islamist armed group known locally as Al-Sunna wa Jama’a (ASWJ) attacked a police station in Mocimboa da Praia district.

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More than 600,000 people have been negatively affected by the violence, with more than 200,000 displaced across the region, according to UN Reliefweb.

In one of their latest attack, the militants attacked Muatide village within the District of Muidumbe and reportedly beheaded at least 50 people.  

Catholic journalists serving at the São Francisco de Assis Community Radio in the District of Muidumbe were forced to flee for their lives into the bushes after the insurgents raided their radio station. 

In the November 18 report, the members of CEM insist on the need to strengthen charitable institutions in order to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in the region.

Further, the Bishops express their gratitude to Pope Francis for his “concern and good gesture” towards the people of Cabo Delgado Province.

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In August, the Holy Father made a phone call to the Bishop Luiz Fernando Lisboa of Pemba Diocese and expressed his closeness to him and the people of Cabo Delgado Province. 

Pope Francis also reiterated his closeness to the people in Mozambique’s northernmost Province after the Angelus prayer on August 23.