In a joint statement yesterday, the Zambia Catholic Bishops' Conference and the Zambian Council of Churches condemned clashes that occurred after a football match in Kitwe on 3 September in which properties were destroyed and a mosque was set on fire. "This senseless destruction of property and attack on a Mosque is something that has shocked us immensely. It is alien to us as Zambians." The riots started after Zambia's national football team lost to Senegal in a World Cup qualification game. Clashes continued the next day Sunday, a number of Senegalese living in Kitwe were beaten and shops and cars were set on fire. Kitwe, a mining city situated 400km north of the capital Lusuka has a large community of Senegalese. "As Zambians, we have always worn with great honour and pride the badge of 'peace loving nation'. Let us not allow some criminal elements among us to tarnish this image" the Christian leaders said. "We extend our hand of solidarity and deep sympathies to our Moslem brothers and sisters. We want to assure them that as Christians, we shall always defend the constitutional right of all Zambians and legal residents to practice their religion in our nation. We uphold the need to coexist with people of other faiths all for the sake of peace in our country. No matter what happens to us, we as Zambians must maintain the sacredness of places of worship at all costs." The Christian leaders concluded after saying they were equally disappointed with the ineptitude exhibited by the police in failing to deal swiftly with the situation. Source: Fides
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