- Jun 16, 2021
Getting Muslim and Christian young people together to know each other before terrorist groups can sow divisiveness is seen as key to peace in the Sahel region of western Africa, said panelists during a March 30 online workshop presented by Catholic Relief Services.
A Vatican diplomat said people are at grave risk because of violence in Africa’s Sahel region, as Pope Francis prayed for victims of a recent terrorist attack on civilians.
With his feet chained during two years of captivity somewhere near the Sahara Desert, Father Pierluigi Maccalli said he found new hope on Pentecost Sunday as he huddled near a shortwave radio to listen to Mass celebrated by Pope Francis.
The rise in violence in West Africa’s Sahel region is a result of unequal access to wealth rather than clashes of religious beliefs, a new report from Catholic Relief Services said.
It’s been a particularly trying year for humanitarian workers, as they face unprecedented hurdles to assist people in pre-existing crises in 54 countries, plus a further nine which have been catapulted into situations of need by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A leading Catholic aid agency is helping Africans stay in their home countries and avoid often perilous journeys abroad to seek work.
While terrorist attacks have been steadily increasing in countries such as Mali, Niger and Burkina Fasso, Moussa Dominique Bangre, country representative for Catholic Relief Services in Mali, believes the impact of COVID19 could weaken the country’s “capacity to respond to jihadist attacks.”
Catholic clergy in Africa’s northern Sahel region have warned that Islamist insurgents could intensify attacks during the COVID-19 pandemic while police and troops are diverted to civil order duties.