Catholic Bishops of East Africa call for end to state terror in Zimbabwe

 Catholic bishops from ten East Africa nations have called for an end to state terror in Zimbabwe and questioned the legitimacy of the government of President Robert Mugabe. In a statement, the bishops of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) deplored continued violence that has inflicted suffering upon thousands of innocent women, men and children. The bishops issued the statement at the close of the 16th AMECEA plenary assembly in Lusaka, Zambia, on Sunday. The theme of the assembly was, Reconciliation through Justice and Peace,. "We are aware of the 13th June 2008 pastoral statement by the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops confirming that a "reign of violence has been unleashed on the country of Zimbabwe. This violence has intensified and continues to inflict fear and suffering upon thousands of innocent women, men and children, the bishops said. "We strongly repeat the call of our brother bishops of Zimbabwe and demand that those behind this dehumanizing violence put an immediate end to it. We further demand that the perpetrators of this violence be brought to justice and be made to account for their actions. The political chaos has spawned a serious humanitarian crisis, worsened by the Mugabe regime,s restrictions on the operations of local and international aid agencies. Basic foodstuff like bread, mealie meal, and cooking oil are no longer available in shops, but only at exorbitant prices in small quantities on the black market. The AMECEA bishops called for the resumption of humanitarian assistance to the suffering population and an end to discrimination and politically motivated use of aid. "We add our voice to those who are questioning the legitimacy of the recent run-off of presidential elections. Therefore, we encourage and support the initiatives for a speedy political settlement of the current situation by regional bodies such as Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the African Union. Source: CISA

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