CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 15 June 2019

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Mali’s bishops say situation is grave

 

OXFORD (CNS): The Bishops’ Conference of Mali praised efforts by the acting president of the country, Dioncounda Traore, to hold the country together and backed his appeal for a general mobilisation against Islamist insurgents. 

In a January 24 letter to the president, the bishops wrote, “The situation we are living through is very grave and has reached tragic proportions in recent days.” The letter says, “Through you, as supreme head of our armies, we salute Mali’s armed and security forces in their common efforts to liberate our country.” 

The bishops note, “We are aware of the appeals you have made, and we endorse them, body and soul.” 

The letter was published during the bishops’ January 21 to 25 plenary in the capital, Bamako, which coincided with the recapture of rebel-held towns by French-backed Malian forces. 

The bishops say the Catholic Church has highlighted the plight of displaced people since the start of the 2012 insurgency, during which ethnic Tuareg rebels, seeking a separate state, overran northern Mali alongside Islamist fighters from Ansar Edine, which is believed linked to al-Qaeda. 

They add that they will seek a “mobilisation of the Christian community” throughout Lent to help secure the country’s future. They continue, “We continue to believe a new Mali will emerge from this harsh ordeal, reconciled with itself and its values. These are the values of faith, fear and respect of God, sincere fraternity between its different components, love of homeland and a sense of sacrifice.”

 

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