East African church leaders voice concern over worsening security situation

 Catholic bishops from AMECEA* representing Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan, Zambia, Malawi and Eritrea have expressed grave concern over the deteriorating security situation in the Great Lakes and the Horn of African regions. In a document issued here at the end of the two-day meeting of the regional body's executive Board last Thursday, the bishops said: "We wish to express our concern and commitment in joining efforts of those seeking peaceful ways of resolving the problems in the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa". "It is our wish and desire as AMECEA Bishops that Reconciliation through Justice and Peace prevail within the Great Lakes Region and Horn of Africa, stressing that "Indeed, this will be our main theme for our next 16th Plenary Assembly that will take place in Lusaka, Zambia in 2008", "We commit ourselves to contribute to the efforts of bringing peace and reconciliation within AMECEA Region", added the communique, signed by the Most Rev Paul Bakyenga, Archbishop of Mbarara, Uganda, Chairman of AMECEA. On the Sudan, the bishops were quick to acknowledge the progress being made in the implementation of the country's Comprehensive Peace Agreement, saying: "We note with happiness the progress that Sudan is making in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that has given hope to the people of Sudan, AMECEA Region and beyond". "We pray that peace will be maintained at all times and the CPA will be fully implemented." On Uganda, the bishops were encouraged by peace negations currently being carried out between the Uganda Government and the Lord's Resistance Army. They said: "Though many challenges still lay ahead, we encourage them to remain steadfast and follow the peaceful path of resolving this long lasting conflict." But on the Darfur issue, the bishops said that they were saddened by the ongoing conflict and the continuous suffering of the people in the area. "Inspired by the spirit of the founding fathers of AMECEA, we wish to express our solidarity to the suffering people of Darfur. We strongly advocate for a peaceful and complete resolution to this problem by the active involvement of the African Union, the United Nations and the International Community"." The bishops also stressed the importance of the pastoral mission among the Nomads and the pastoral people/communities within the AMECEA region. They pledged to find ways to promote this apostolate to ensure that no section of the flock of God is left unattended. *Association of the Episcopal Conferences of Eastern Africa

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