Bishop of Pemba Calls for International Community not to Forget Cabo Delgado

Johan Viljoen, Dennis Hurley Peace Institute, South Africa

The Bishop of Pemba asked the international community this Sunday (01-05) not to forget the Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado. Bishop António Juliasse Ferreira Sandramo said that the security situation in the province, which has been severely affected by terrorism, was still delicate, and that the displaced population remained in need of humanitarian aid. Bishop Juliase was participating in a mass in Maputo cathedral, presided over by the Archbishop of Maputo, Francisco Chimoio and attended by other members of the Episcopal Conference of Mozambique.

Bishop Juliasse was first ordained a bishop in February 2019, at the Cathedral of Chimoio, and was later appointed auxiliary Bishop of Maputo, where he stayed for three years. Last year, he was appointed Apostolic Administrator of
the Diocese of Pemba and, in March of this year, Pope Francis appointed him Bishop of Pemba.

Sunday’s mass at Maputo’s Cathedral was a celebration for everyone to say goodbye to a son of the house: Bishop
António Juliasse Ferreira Sandramo. “Insecurity prevails, the internally displaced are still many. I personally ask you, those who know me, to pray. Pray for me, and pray for peace,” the bishop said.

In an interview with VOA later, the Bishop of Pemba said that Cabo Delgado was still in dire straits and that the displaced badly needed help. “There continue to be attacks. Especially in the Nangade region, many villages were attacked in the last three months. And, that’s it – we are attentive to the situation. As a church, we can only humanely help those forced to move from one place to another. The security issue is in the hands of the government and international partners,” he said.

In addition to barbaric killings, the terrorists had destroyed social and economic infrastructure, especially in the
northern districts of Cabo Delgado, among them churches and residences belonging to the Catholic Church. The Bishop of Pemba said that, for the time being, there were no plans to rebuild them. “The most serious is Muidumbe, where the church and the priests’ house, where we had a community radio station, were all destroyed. So, there, certainly, we will need a lot of investment to rebuild the parish mission. And we also saw the church in Mocímboa da Praia destroyed,” he said.

Bishop António Juliasse Ferreira Sandramo, Bishop of Pemba, succeeds the Brazilian Luiz Fernando Lisboa.