Angolan Episcopate Says Refugees Are a Priority
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LUANDA, Angola, APRIL 15, 2003 (Zenit.org).- On the first anniversary of a peace agreement between the government and UNITA guerrillas, Angolan bishops appealed to the people to rebuild the country and resolve the plight of refugees.
"We are a country of refugees," say the bishops in their message. "An important effort has been made on the part of the government, the United Nations, and other organizations to care for many of these, our brothers."
"The camps and areas assisted by international organizations have many difficulties," the bishops warn. "A great multitude live with serious problems of lack of food, medical care, and schooling."
There are more than 1 million domestic refugees sheltered in camps.
Angola, which has about 14 million inhabitants, 47% of whom are Catholic, became independent from Portugal in 1975. Civil war broke out between the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola, and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, or UNITA.
A final peace agreement was signed April 4, 2002, following the assassination of UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi.