From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
AANA BULLETIN No. 30/03 August 4, 2003 (a)
Worldwide Faith News <email@example.com>
Mon, 04 Aug 2003 20:03:46 -0700
ALL AFRICA NEWS AGENCY
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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
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
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
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,
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
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
FOCUS ON LWF ASSEMBLY
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
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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