Mozambique: Norway defends more primary school investment
Screen grab: Zoom
Exploitation of natural resources is the cause of the crisis in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado Province where the Catholic Diocese of Pemba is located, the Local Ordinary, Bishop Luiz Fernando Lisboa has said.
In a Wednesday, December 16 report [brought by Ecclesia], Bishop Lisboa is quoted as calling on Portugal to table a debate in the European Union (EU) to discuss the exploitation of natural resources.
“The conflicts in the Cabo Delgado region have their origins in the costs of exploiting natural resources,” Bishop Lisboa has been quoted as saying during a webinar promoted by Catholic Church organisations in Portugal.
Making reference to the three-year violence in Cabo Delgado Province, the Bishop adds: “Economic motivations are, in the very first place, at the origin of the conflicts. Religious extremism is also an important element, but it is not the main one,” he said, pointing out the way how “wars have taken place where there are many natural resources.”
Addressing about 250 participants in the webinar, Bishop Lisboa called on Portugal, which will assume the EU Council Presidency in January 2021, to spearhead the discussion about the worldwide exploitation of natural resources.
“Portugal would do a great favour if it brought to debate in the European Union the use of resources throughout the world: How are we dealing with the situation? What kind of submission. of neocolonialism, are we practising in relation to the resources which exist in Africa and in other places, the poorest in the world?” the Local Ordinary of Pemba asks.
“This discussion has to be done seriously,” stresses the Bishop Lisboa, pointing that “one cannot give with one hand and take away with the other”.
Acknowledging that the “European Union can do a lot in terms of humanitarian aid,” the Brazilian-born Bishop says that it must act to discover the “causes of this war, go to the root of the problem”.
“We are dealing with the humanitarian crisis, but this war must end,” Bishop Lisboa appeals, adding that the conflicts in the Cabo Delgado region have their origins in the “costs of exploiting natural resources”.
The violent insurgency has been going on in Mozambique’s Northernmost Province since October 2017 when Islamist jihadists attacked a military base and a police station in the Coastal town of Mocimboa da Praia, where foreign companies are undertaking a US$ 60 billion gas oil project.
In the report published by Agenzia Ecclesia, Bishop Lisboa says that the violence has worsened the challenge of hunger in the region.
“Hunger, which was happening every year at this time, increases much more because of the war,” he says.
“Cabo Delgado was ignored, it was left out for a long time,” Bishop Lisboa noted, adding:“that is one of the reasons that contributed for this youth to be dragged into these rebel groups.”
He goes on to note that Mozambique’s defence forces “with all the goodwill and all the staff that the Government may have increased, were unable to contain and the war continues.”
“To resolve the situation, the Government has done what it should have done a long time ago: ask for help,” said the Local Ordinary of Pemba.
By Magdalene Kahiu
Watch the full webinar promoted by several Catholic Church Organisations, namely: Fundação Fé e Cooperação, Cáritas Portuguesa, Comissão Nacional Justiça e Paz, Ponto SJ, Centro Missionário Arquidiocesano de Braga, Fundação Gonçalo da Silveira and Rosto Solidário. The webinar is conducted in Portuguese and was streamed live on Tuesday, December 15, via Zoom and on the Fundação Fé e Cooperação Facebook page.