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A man walks at a camp sheltering IDPs in Burkina Faso A man walks at a camp sheltering IDPs in Burkina Faso  (AFP or licensors)

West Africa: Bishops call attention to the problem of IDPs

"The security situation remains worrying in various areas, despite a relative calm," Agenzia Fides quotes the Bishops of Burkina Faso and Niger as saying.

Vatican News English Africa Service

According to a communiqué of the West African Bishops released during their second Plenary Assembly for the year 2020 – 2021, the Bishops say the unresolved question of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) risks creating new tensions. This is as a result of "the still high number of internally displaced persons whose coexistence with those who received them is not always easy."

Governments should do more for the people

According to the Bishops, despite the promises of governments, "the reality on the ground shows that some populations need to be reassured and to feel protected by competent authorities.".

To allow for tolerance and coexistence between IDPs and indigenous populations of the reception areas, the Bishops recommend "a strengthening of dialogue in general and an awareness campaign on coexistence involving various leaders."

Stigma

The Bishops also suggest that there be programmes that tackle the issue of stigma. Some communities are sometimes unfairly perceived as sympathising with jihadist groups. The Bishops further appeal to the faithful not to give up on praying for peace.

Grand Imam visits Bishops at their plenary assembly

During their work, the Bishops received a visit from the Grand Iman of Fada, Aboubacar Kina, who asked the Assembly of Bishops to pray for peace and social cohesion in Burkina Faso. He commended the good interreligious relations between Christian and Muslim communities that have been in existence for decades.

The violence Is relentless

Agenzia Fides reports that a few days ago, on 18 February, several innocent persons were killed in various attacks in Mali and Burkina Faso. The attacks in Burkina Faso took place in the towns of Markoye and Tokabangou, where the victims were ambushed on their way to Dolbel, Niger. In the ambush, eight people died, and nine others were injured, one of whom died due to the injuries.

21 February 2021, 16:59