The apostolic administrator of Pemba, António Juliasse, considers that the conditions have not yet been created for the priests and nuns to return to their original missions in the Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado, affected by armed attacks by insurgents, saying that “the issue of security is still precarious”. “The first thing we really have to ensure is that the people can return safely and resume their lives in safety (…). But I think we still need [time]. As far as the people return, then we will also consider the possibility of the missionaries returning there. But for us, the thermometer will be to understand effectively on the ground that there is security,” he added.

“There is an advance by the military of this joint force of the Rwandans and also accompanied by the Mozambican defense and security force, there is an advance in terms of penetrating the areas that were the only domain of the insurgents, but there is still no guarantee of security, that really those areas are safe,” the bishop said. For now, the Church is “working closely with various agencies” of the United Nations in the region “in humanitarian support”, namely in the protection of minors.

According to António Juliasse, the Catholic Church is also very involved in psychosocial support for the displaced and points out, as priorities, the lack of medicines, food support and the creation of conditions so that populations can produce their own food. .

“The [agricultural] production campaigns will soon start with the rains, especially the production of maize, cassava and other products that are most consumed. There is a need to ensure that families have the means and that means having a hoe , axes, everything that is necessary to work the field”, while they must have land to produce, said the auxiliary bishop of Maputo.

He still leaves doubts about the authorship of the destruction of churches, namely in Mocímboa da Praia. “The destruction came from above, from helicopter bombings. Both in Muidumbe and in Mocímboa da Praia, the question is the same: who destroyed it?”, asked Juliasse. “If I were sure that the destruction was done by the insurgents, our feeling would be one. But if we don’t know, then our feeling is different. And there is still a doubt to try to resolve. It remains. difficult to read,” he admitted.

He gave an example of what happened in Palma: “In the village of Palma, when they [the insurgents] entered, the church was intact. They did not touch the church, nor did they enter it, including the priests’ house. The insurgents didn’t touch anything. We still had people there who witnessed it. We’re in this doubt [about] who is vandalizing things, including the things of the Catholic Church,” he added.

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