Religious leaders sign declaration against terrorism

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Mozambique: Religious leaders sign declaration against terrorism
Mozambique: Religious leaders sign declaration against terrorism

Africa-Press – Mozambique. Seven Catholic and Muslim leaders from Cabo Delgado province have signed a declaration that they will work together in the fight against extremism in northern Mozambique.

“We have a plan that will be released in February, with joint activities such as prayer, awareness, work with church members and the community, and meetings with governments, to maintain peace,” apostolic administrator in Pemba Antônio Juliasse told Lusa yesterday.

The declaration also intends to dispel misunderstandings and show the world that the religions in Cabo Delgado “are united” in defending peace, and will work “as part of the solution, and not the problem”.

“It’s a clear statement,” Juliasse emphasised.

The 15-point Pemba Interfaith Declaration provides for activities up until December, 2022.

Juliasse added that religions would welcome any who decide to forsake violence and re-join their families, but some things in that regard depended on the government.

Religious leaders would be available to “collaborate with the Government, first in welcoming and rehabilitating young people who decide to abandon violence and reintegrate into society”.

“We are open, and we think we can be useful in this,” but any process opening options “to those who are [still] in the woods” must be carried out together with the authorities. “We are available and we have the means to this end,” he concluded.

Cabo Delgado province is rich in natural gas, but has been terrorized since 2017 by armed rebels, with some attacks claimed by the Islamic State extremist group.

The conflict has already claimed more than 3,100 deaths, according to the ACLED conflict registry project.

Since July, an offensive by government troops with the support of Rwanda was joined by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), facilitating the recovery of several areas, but, during November, the conflict spread to the neighbouring province of Niassa.

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