Mali’s Catholic bishops praised efforts by their acting head of state to hold the country together and backed his appeal for a “general mobilisation” against Islamist insurgents.
“The situation we are living through is very grave and has reached tragic proportions in recent days,” the bishops’ conference said in a January 24 letter to President Dioncounda Traore.
“Through you, as supreme head of our armies, we salute Mali’s armed and security forces in their common efforts to liberate our country,” said the letter.
“We are aware of the appeals you have made, and we endorse them, body and soul.” The letter was published during the bishops’ January 21-25 plenary in the capital, Bamako.
The meeting coincided with the recapture of rebel-held towns by French-backed Malian forces.
The bishops said the Catholic Church had highlighted the plight of displaced people since the start of the 2012 insurgency, during which ethnic Tuareg rebels seeking a separate state overran northern Mali alongside Islamist fighters from Ansar Edine, which is believed linked to al-Qaida.
They added they would seek a “mobilisation of the Christian community” throughout Lent, which begins on February 13, to help secure the country’s future. – CNS