From the Worldwide Faith News archives

AANA BULLETIN No. 30/03 August 4, 2003 (a)

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Mon, 04 Aug 2003 20:03:46 -0700

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AANA Bulletin	Editor -Elly Wamari
Bulletin APTA Editor - Silvie Alemba

AANA BULLETIN No. 30/03 August 4, 2003 (a)


DRC's Sorry State Needs Detailed Intervention, says  MSF

KINSHASA/NAIROBI (AANA) August 4 - The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) 
is in macabre state, and demands elaborate military intervention from the 
international community, according to Midecins Sans Frontihres (MSF).

MSF Director of Communication, Michel Clerc, said  at a press conference in 
Nairobi on July 25, that quick intervention was needed in the DRC before a 
replica of Rwanda-type genocide was witnessed there.

He was speaking during the launch of an MSF report titled Ituri: Unkept 

He pointed out that the situation on the ground was deteriorating and 
required the UN Security Council to take urgent steps to avert further 

For four years, said Clerc, people have been moving about in Ituri region 
in north-eastern DRC, not able to live in their houses for fear of being 

Eyewitnesses have given horrendous accounts of what is happening in Bunia, 
the capital of Ituri region.

The report, which is based on observation by MSF and testimonies from 
people in Bunia, reveals how people watched relatives being killed during 
orgies of massacres, involving slitting of throats, and chopping off of 
body parts.

The level of violence experienced here, according to Clerc, is greater than 
what was witnessed in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide.

Clerc asserted that contrary to the impression created by a UN set radio 
station (Okapi) that Bunia was now safe, the situation had degenerated from 
bad to worse.  Some returnees, assured of security through broadcast by 
Okapi, had been forced to flee into the bush to seek refuge.

Militiamen have developed a tactic of not carrying arms during the day to 
hoodwink the peacekeepers. They resort to weapons at night, as they carry 
out atrocities, causing mayhem.

The situation is even worse in rural areas, where there is no protection. 
Villages are under constant raids, houses are looted and burned, and people 
killed on a daily basis.

Clerc deplored the lack of enough agencies in the region to offer 
humanitarian assistance.  He took great exception with UNHCR, which he 
said, should have been there to assess the situation, for elaborate action.

He further cautioned that there would be serious repercussions if the UN 
Security Council makes good its plan to withdraw the UN Organisation 
Mission in the DRC (MONUC) by September 1.

A deputy head of MSF, Ms Hilary Bower observed that the intensity of what 
was happening in Bunia was critical, and made worse by inadequate 
humanitarian assistance.

She warned that the peace process going on in the country should not be 
taken to imply that there was peace, since violence had become an everyday 
occurrence.  "What the international intervention has done is an illusion 
of protection," she alleged.

Reported by Joseph K'Amolo

US Denies Involvement In Arrest Of Terrorism Suspects

LILONGWE (AANA) August 4 - The American government has rejected reports 
that its secret agents were behind an operation in which five foreign 
Muslims were abducted in June and flown out of Malawi, after they were 
suspected of having been agents of the Al Qaeda terrorist organisation.

American Ambassador to Malawi, Roger Meece, recently told a news conference 
marking the end of his three-year tour in Malawi, that it was the 
Government of Malawi that took action against the five terror suspects, and 
not American agents.

The five included two Turkish nationals, a Sudanese, a Saudi and a Kenyan, 
and were working in religious, educational and charitable sectors in the 
country.  They were Fahdi al Bahli, Dr Ibrahim Itabaci, Arif Ulusam, Sheikh 
Mahmud Issa and Sheikh Khalif Hussein.

This was the first public comment by a senior American government official, 
following widespread media reports that the five suspects were arrested in 
Blantyre in the early hours of June 21, by American secret agents in a 
joint operation with Malawian intelligence and security officials.  The 
arrests happened just before the visit of United States President, George 
Bush, to Africa.

Until now, there has been no explanation by Malawi Government officials 
about who was behind the secret arrests.

The only comments came from President Bakili Muluzi, who told the British 
Broadcasting Corporation early last month that there was nothing that his 
Government could do but play its part in the international campaign against 
terrorism, in keeping with its obligations to the United Nations convention 
against global terrorism.

President Muluzi pointed out that Malawi was a signatory of the Geneva 
Convention against terrorism.

The five terror suspects, who had been resident in Malawi for several 
years, were flown out of the country to an unknown destination as their 
lawyers petitioned the High Court of Malawi for their release.

However, latest reports indicate that the Kenyan  suspect (Hussein) is 
safely back in Kenya, after having been taken to Zimbabwe and Sudan.

Reported by Hamilton Vokhiwa

Govt Unveils Grand Plan For Reintegrating Repatriates

OUAGADOUGOU (AANA) August 4 - The Government of Burkina Faso has adopted a 
three-year plan for socio-economic reintegration of its nationals, who have 
been fleeing violence in neighbouring Ivory Coast, after unrest erupted 
there last year.

This was revealed to AANA by the Minister of Social Affairs and National 
Solidarity, Mariam Lamizana, during an interview.

Officially, 320,000 Burkina Faso nationals are reported to have returned 
home so far, but officials at the social affairs ministry say the number 
could be about 500,000.

The programme, Plan d'Appui a la Reinsertion Socio Economique des 
Rapatries, was adopted on July 24 during a Cabinet meeting.

"After the first phase, which consisted of welcoming the repatriates, some 
of who are still arriving, we thought it was necessary to move to their 
socio-economic reintegration through integrated activities," Lamizana 

"It is important not to frustrate the other populations, that is why all 
activities will be implemented along with existing development programmes 
and projects in various areas," added the minister.

The key factors of the plan are humanitarian concerns (acceptance of the 
repatriates by local communities), education, health, agriculture, 
employment, and income generating activities.

According to the plan, at least 90 percent of students and pupils will be 
enrolled in schools. 25 percent of the youth are expected to be involved in 
professional training, while 50 percent of the repatriated women will be 
given opportunities to launch their own income generating activities.

Three million Burkina Faso nationals lived in neighbouring Cote d'Ivoire 
until the beginning of civil war last September.

Reported by Brahima Ouedraogo

  Pope Appoints New Primate For Central African Republic

BANGUI (AANA) August 4 - A new archbishop for the Catholic archdiocese of 
Bangui, the capital of Central African Republic, has been appointed.

Pope John Paul II has appointed Monsignor Paulin Pomodino, a leading 
promoter of peace in this central African country, as archbishop. The 
announcement was made public on July 26, at Vatican City (Rome).

Monsignor Pomodino, 49, was until his new appointment, the bishop of 
Bossangoa in the north-east.  He is currently the president of the 
country's Episcopal Conference (the national council for Catholic Bishops 
in the country).

The new archbishop replaces Monsignor Joachim N'Dayen, who handed his 
resignation to the Pope for health reasons.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Pontiff has appointed four archbishops of Africa as 
consultors (consultants) of a key organisation in the Vatican.

The four are among 18 people appointed to the Congregation of the 
Evangelisation of the Peoples, in that capacity.

The archbishops, whose appointments were also announced on July 26, are 
Uganda's John Baptist Odama of Gulu archdiocese, Buti Joseph Tlhagale of 
Johannesburg, South Africa, Theodore-Adrien Sarr of Dakar, Senegal, and 
Paulino do Livramento Evora of Santiago de Cabo Verde.

Reported by Osman Njuguna

Come to Our Rescue, Pleads Liberian Lutheran Bishop

WINNIPEG, Canada/NAIROBI (AANA) August 4 - The Lutheran World Federation 
(LWF) has called upon the United Nations to send a stabilisation force to 
Liberia to prevent Government forces and rebels from attacking each other, 
and protect civilians.

In a statement released during it's Tenth Assembly concluded last week, LWF 
"urged the United Nations (UN) Security Council to immediately mandate the 
deployment of a multilateral stabilisation force to separate the warring 
sides, to protect civilians, and to disarm and demobilise all fighting

The statement came after a heart-rending briefing on the current situation 
in Liberia by the head of the Lutheran Church in Liberia (LCL), Bishop 
Sumoward Harris, and Ms Comfort Freeman, who represented LCL women.

According to Harris, innocent civilians have continued to die due to 
continued fighting between the warring parties, who have said they will not 
stop until US troops arrive. "We welcome President Bush's intervention of 
sending his men here, but by the time they arrive, many more Liberians will 
be dead," said Harris.

On July 25, the US president ordered 2,000 of his troops to head towards 
the war stricken nation, and help restore peace and stability.

Harris appealed to the international community to listen to the voice of 
Liberians, saying, "We have been crying for so long. Now it is time for the 
international community to come to our rescue."

Freeman, also a founding member of Liberia's Women in Peace Building 
Network (WIPNET), noted that Christian and Muslim women in the country have 
come together to pursue peaceful solutions for the country.

"We have written statements and presented them to the government and the 
rebels, demanding unconditional cease-fire," she said.

Meanwhile, the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) has sent a letter 
to its member churches and national Christian councils across Africa, to 
organise respective "ecumenical prayer services for restoration of peace in 

"The situation in Liberia continues to worry us a great deal.  At one 
point, restoration of peace appears to be imminent, and yet at another 
point, it turns elusive and many innocent Liberians continue to loose their 
lives," says AACC's Acting General Secretary, Bright Mawudor.

Reported by Gracious Green and Elly Wamari

Cleric Wants Victims To Take Charge Of HIV-AIDS Projects

NAIROBI (AANA) August 4 - Money meant to help HIV/AIDS victims should be 
handled by people living with HIV/AIDS, Kenya's Anglican Archbishop 
Benjamin Nzimbi, has stated.

Speaking here during a fellowship with Christian Women of Faith (CWF), a 
group of 194 self-confessed former commercial sex workers, the primate said 
people suffering from AIDS should be in the forefront in ensuring that 
money meant to control the scourge was properly used.

The archbishop was expressing concern that the offer by donors to provide 
funds towards war on HIV/AIDS in Kenya had resulted in formation of many 
non-governmental organisations (NGOs), some of which were merely "briefcase 

Said he: "People handling these huge amounts of money meant to help control 
AIDS should in fact be people living with AIDS. This will enable them to 
make sure that the money is used for the intended purpose. In fact, half of 
the members of staff working with AIDS organisations should be people 
living with AIDS."

At the same function, retired Anglican Archbishop, Manasses Kuria, called 
on the Kenya government to recognise the existence of the group, and urged 
the Anglican Church to give it more support.

The group comprises of 162 women aged between 20 and 56 years, and 32 girls 
aged between 16 and21 years. About 40 percent of members of CWF are 
HIV-positive or have AIDS, according to a psychologist, Beatrice Murunga, 
who counsels them.

Retired Archbishop Kuria told the women that their being in the House of 
God had set a good example to others who are still engaged in the illicit 

"The government has been granted a lot of money to help fight HIV/Aids but 
none of such funds is given to a group like the one before us here," he 

He went on: "The church can also help give aid to such a group in a case 
where the state has decided not to give aid. We believe this message being 
sent by these women about saying no to spreading AIDS can be heeded to."

Last February Global Fund against AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis set aside 
US$ 173 million to fight AIDS, TB and malaria in Kenya for the next five 
years. Of this, US$ 129 million is to be spent on the battle against

Records indicate that the scourge is killing an estimated 700 Kenyans daily 
and costing the economy upwards of US$ 6.8 million a month in diversion of 
resources to care for the sick, and lost labour, among others.

Reported by Andrew Kuria

Religious Leaders Condemn Harassment Of Journalists

BLANTYRE (AANA) August 4 - The Public Affairs Committee (PAC), a grouping 
of various ecumenical organisations in Malawi, has condemned violation of 
press freedom, and called on politicians in the ruling party to arrest 
culprits involved in the recent harassment of a journalist from a leading 
independent newspaper.

On July 7, members of the youth wing of the ruling United Democratic Front 
(UDF) called Young Democrats, seriously injured Daniel Nyirenda, a 
photojournalists from the Nation newspaper.

Nyirenda was taking pictures of a fracas among divided party officials at a 
UDF mini-convention to launch the newly revised party's constitution, in 
Blantyre, when the youths descended upon him as they chased away 
journalists from private media houses.

Nyirenda was admitted for more than a week at the Queen Elizabeth Central 
Hospital.  He lost two cameras and a cell-phone.

PAC chairman, Monsignor Boniface Tamani, echoing other interest groups' 
sentiments over intimidation of journalists from the independent media 
ahead of the May 2004 elections, demanded that UDF must ensure justice was 
done by bringing to book the violent youths of the Young Democrats.

"The party has a duty to surrender those people that beat up the 
journalists, to police. I'm sure they know the people who were involved in 
this," charged Tamani.

The party has since admitted the negative impact of the violent behaviour 
of its youth, assuring journalists that they will be protected in future 
UDF meetings. "It is only a group of thick-headed members of the Young 
Democrats who are bruising the image of the party. We promise all 
journalists safety in future," admitted Ken Lipenga, UDF Publicity Secretary.

But Monsignor Tamani was not convinced with Lipenga's confession, 
considering that President Bakili Muluzi had himself made similar promises, 
yet violation of freedom of private media continued.  "We are now tired of 
lip service and ask the UDF to get to the bottom of the Young Democrat's 
issue. They also have to compensate the journalist for the incarceration 
and lost property," charged Monsignor Tamani.

Reported by Hobbs Gama

Christians Dedicate Kenya To God On Path To Progress

NAIROBI (AANA) August 4 - Approximately 20,000 Christians from various 
denominations came together here last Thursday, for a national worship to 
dedicate Kenya to God, as the country marks its 40th year of self-governance.

The occasion was marked by prayers of repentance of ills such as tribal 
clashes (1991-1992), corruption, torture, and terrorism, and seeking God's 
guidance in war against afflictions like HIV/AIDS, poverty and insecurity, 
among others.

A highlight of the occasion was the dedication of Kenya's draft 
constitution to God. A Member of Parliament, Onesmus Kihara Mwangi, noted 
that there were some clauses in the constitution that were ungodly, and 
asked the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission to dedicate the preamble 
of the document to God.

Kihara, who was speaking on behalf of parliamentarians, said that sections 
of the draft document that seemed to sanction abortion and homosexuality, 
should be deleted because they were ungodly.

Reported By Herman Kasili

Netherlands To Support New Capacity Building Programme

ACCRA (AANA) August 4 - The Government of Netherlands has decided to 
support capacity building in post secondary educational institutions in 
developing countries, starting 2005, as part of a measure to phase out 
existing international programmes.

To this end, Netherlands has earmarked 31 million Euros for the year 2005, 
to fund capacity building-related schemes in universities and teacher 
training institutions, Arie Van de Wiel, the Netherlands Ambassador to 
Ghana has announced here.

The programme, dubbed The Netherlands for  Institutional Strengthening of 
Post Secondary Education and Training Capacity (NPT), will replace current 
international co-operation programme that has been in existence for more 
than three decades, and expected to phase out in 2004.

The Ambassador disclosed this when he paid a courtesy call on Ghana's 
Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu.

The purpose of the programme is to help developing countries to strengthen 
their institutional capacity in post secondary education in a sustainable 
way, that equips them eventually to meet their own needs for training.

In addition to the NPT, the Ambassador said two new fellowship programmes 
will be introduced, with one aimed at the pursuit of academic degrees, 
while the other will cater for participation in short courses and 
tailor-made training.

According to Van de Wiel, the objective of the three-pronged programme is 
to help alleviate qualitative and quantitative shortages in skilled 
manpower, and to do so in the framework of sustainable capacity building 
directed towards reducing poverty in developing countries.

The Ambassador stated that the NPT will be managed and administered by the 
Netherlands Organisation for International Co-operation in Higher Education.

Baah-Wiredu expressed the hope that the programme will go a long way to 
build the capacity at the various levels of higher education in developing 
countries, to further improve educational standards.

Reported by Felix Amanfu


WINNIPEG, Canada (AANA) August 4: The Lutheran World Federation, a global 
communion of Christian churches in the Lutheran tradition, held its Tenth 
Assembly here between July 21-31, under the theme For the Healing of the 
World. The Assembly, which attracted about 800 delegates from 133 churches 
around the world, discussed divergent issues of importance to global 
ecumenical netwroking.	Below are some higlights of the concerns that were 
raised, as prepared by LWF press team at the Assembly.

Peace Between Religions Is Vital For Global Progress

Peace between world religions, and a common front against terrorism are 
among the top challenges facing Christians in the 21st Century, the 
president of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), Bishop Emeritus Dr 
Christian Krause, said here on July 22.

The LWF's chief officer said it was no longer enough that states committed 
themselves only to ending their conflicts.

According to him, countries need to form global alliances "in order to 
combat terrorism together and to guarantee their citizens civilised life in 

Krause expressed concern that the United States, the only remaining world 
superpower, is now militarily so superior that it does not need to fear any 
military opponent in the world. "It has resolved to use war as a political 
means whenever that serves its own interests," he said.

He regretted that the war against Iraq was waged in spite of the United 
Nations' opposition and anti-war demonstrations by millions of people 

  "International law cannot safeguard peace if the USA does not respect 
this international law and prefer to replace it by the right of the mighty 
one," he exclaimed.

Islam, or other religions, should not be equated with terrorism, Krause 
warned. While fundamentalism attracts very few supporters, the phenomenon 
is also present among Christians and Jews.

The LWF boss said some 1.2 billion people in the world are Muslims and only 
a very small number of them sympathise with terrorism.

He observed that the fight against terrorism must include as many states 
world-wide as possible, especially those with majority Muslim populations. 
"But it must never become a clash of civilisations or even of religions," 
he pointed out.

What is imperative for the 21st century is not a crusade against Islam, 
said Krause, but peace between religions, and their common struggle against 

According to Krause, the aim is to find a common ground between the two 
world faiths. He observed that the concept of "reconciled diversity", 
developed for relations between different churches, may also be a useful 
tool for relations between Christians and Muslims.

Youth Presentation Highlights Urgency Of AIDS Intervention

Choking back tears, her voice quivering with emotion, Leonie Vries from 
Namibia told the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Tenth Assembly how she 
lost her best friend to HIV/AIDS.

Her friend died of HIV/AIDS-related tuberculosis four years ago. She had 
been infected by her husband, who had died two years earlier after 
contracting the HIV virus through extra-marital affairs.

Their oldest child is HIV-positive and still alive, but their second child, 
a little girl, lived only up to the age of two years. The woman lingered on 
for several years, growing thinner and weaker, with Vries as her volunteer 
caregiver. Finally, only 34 years old, she died.

The assembly audience sat in solemn silence, as Vries, 22, and the other 67 
LWF youth delegates, urged them to deal openly and directly with HIV/AIDS. 
"Let us fully break the silence," said James Tan of Malaysia, adding: "Let 
us make prevention a priority."

Graphically illustrating their point, youth delegates wearing black 
T-shirts stood silently on stage, their mouths criss-crossed shut with 
masking tape.

Around their necks hung signs with birth dates and death dates of nameless 
persons, at the bottom of which read the message, "Stop 
HIV/AIDS".  Finally, on cue, the youth members removed the tapes from their 
mouths, symbolising open communication about the dreaded disease sweeping 
across many countries.

The July 28 dramatic presentation highlighted a youth hearing at the LWF 
Assembly. The hearing focused largely on the issues of HIV/AIDS and human 
sexuality.  The audience was asked to link hands as a symbol of solidarity 
against the scourge of HIV/AIDS. As one youth delegate put it, "We simply 
ask that we talk openly about this issue."

Churches Pledge To  Keep Lines Of Communication Open

Regional and international church organisations brought goodwill messages 
to the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) here, and affirmed their commitment 
to ecumenical co-operation.

Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches 
(WCC), observed that three assemblies, staged or to be staged in 2003, 
notably of LWF, the Conference of European Churches, and the All Africa 
Conference of Churches, had chosen themes focusing on healing, 
reconciliation and re-building.

At a time of "brokenness" in the world, he said, churches were beginning to 
understand that it was their missionary vocation to heal and reconcile 
communities in Christ.

"Caring for life, healing and reconciliation, are central to what it means 
to be church," he noted in a message read by Rev. Hector Mendez, a member 
of the WCC Central Committee, and a pastor of the First Presbyterian 
Reformed Church of Havana, Cuba.

Rev. Dr Setri Nyomi, General Secretary of the World Alliance of Reformed 
Churches (WARC), in anticipation of a proposed joint meeting between the 
WARC Executive Committee and LWF Council, expressed hope that the LWF Tenth 
Assembly would identify some of the steps Lutheran and Reformed churches 
could take together "as God's agents for healing."

A message from the Anglican Communion, delivered by its Secretary General, 
Rev. Canon John L. Peterson, urged Lutherans and Anglicans to work together 
for the healing of the world.

"It is a scandal that we are not working more closely together in Africa 
and in other parts of our global communion on HIV/AIDS," he said.

In a message read by former United Church of Canada (UCC) Moderator, Rev. 
Dr Stan McKay, UCC present Moderator, Rt. Rev. Dr Marion Pardy, and Acting 
General Secretary, Rev. Dr Jim Sinclair, commended the LWF for "proclaiming 
unity as God's gift and for recognising that God's healing is needed for 
the divisions in our Church and in the brokenness in our world."

The President of the World Methodist Council (WMC), His Eminence Sunday C. 
Mbang, pledged the WMC's willingness "to join with others in bringing God's 
message of healing to a broken world."

The Rev. Ane Hjerrild, representing the Leuenberg Church Fellowship (LCF), 
which brings together over 100 churches from mainly Lutheran and Reformed 
traditions in Europe, underscored the need for Christian partners to work 
together to overcome differences in the Church.

She noted: "We in Europe have again, during this assembly, learnt how 
churches in Asia, Latin America and Africa, are overcoming confessional 
barriers and differences by working together in mission and dialogue in 
serving the people and struggling for justice."

Dr Jan Paulsen, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, in a 
statement, called on Lutherans and Adventists to co-operate in the "battle 
against HIV/AIDS" and in humanitarian action, education and religious

"These are areas where Adventists and Lutherans may develop strong 
partnerships," he pointed out.

Other churches and church organisations that conveyed similar messages 
include, Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, Ukranian 
Orthodox Church in Canada, Anglican Church of Canada and the Lutheran 
School of Theology in Chicago.

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