ACN supports five projects for displaced victims in Africa

In Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mauritania, Nigeria

18 March, 09:00

    (ANSAmed) - ROME, MAR 18 - The pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need is supporting five projects for Christian communities in Mozambique, Burkina Faso and Niger, Mauritania and Nigeria where thousands of people have been displaced by violence and religious persecution. During the period of Lent, the foundation Aid to the Church in Need is supporting five projects for persecuted Christian communities in Africa, the Italian chapter of the organization said in a statement on March 16. The initiatives are promoted in Mozambique, Burkina Faso and Niger, Mauritania and Nigeria, where thousands of people have been displaced by violence and religious persecution.

    The situation in Mozambique, Burkina Faso and Niger The situation for Christians in northeastern Mozambique has become dramatic over the past few months due to spiraling violence unleashed by Islamic extremists. Over 500,000 people have been displaced by the violence, seeking shelter in the area of the diocese of Pemba. Displaced people are suffering from trauma including the loss of dear ones and of their homes. The pontifical foundation is raising funds to send to the priests and nuns of Pemba so they can help the internally displaced, providing first of all food and medicines. In Burkina Faso and Niger, in particular in the vast region of Sahel, thousands of Christians are victims of violence at the hands of Islamist extremists and priests have to provide humanitarian aid, as well as pastoral service. Priests need to be adequately trained to deal with the situation. ACS is raising funds to finance periodical meetings organized by the "Fraternity of African priests". The initiative is aimed at providing renewed missionary support in a violence-torn area.

    Mons. Laurent B. Dabiré, bishop of Dori and president of the Episcopal conference of Burkina Faso and Niger, was quoted as saying by the Italian chapter of Aid to the Church in Need (ACS) that "the faithful have a great spirit of perseverance and resilience. They continue to live their faith, whatever it costs. Nobody has heard about desertions and apostasies since 2015", he said. "The faithful flee terrorism against which they can't resist but preserve their faith. Even when the terrorists threatened the population, trying to convert them, they were unsuccessful. People simply fled, bringing their faith with them". The project promoted by ACS means to help priests at the service of these people.

    The projects in Mauritania and Nigeria In Burkina Faso, 36 nuns from various congregations of the diocese of Fada N'Gourma take care of thousands of Christians who are targeted by Islamic extremists. The nuns visit families often, supporting in particular mothers, trying to provide medicines for the sick and teaching doctrine to children exposed to traumatic experiences. These nuns also need support, ACS said.

    In Mauritania, the nuns operate within a community that is almost entirely Muslim, supporting families and the marginalized in extremely dramatic circumstances. ACS said it wants to help nuns and, through them, the communities benefiting from their service.

    In Bauchi, in northern Nigeria, only 3% of the population is Catholic. Catholics are the first victims of Boko Haram terrorists who attack places of worship in order to instill fear in the small local Christian communities. Christians, nevertheless, want to rebuild their damaged churches, including the church of Saint Peter which was completely destroyed in an attack in 2018, ACS said. The foundation said it is raising money to rebuild it as soon as possible.

    (Young girls from Mali collect water on the terrain of a refugee camp near Dori, Burkina Faso, on 04 July 2012. Photo: EPA/HELMUT FOHRINGER) (ANSAmed).

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