Mali’s Catholic bishops sent a letter to the president of Mali praising efforts to stop rebel fighters. Excerpts from an article by Catholic News Service, with quotes from CRS staffer Helen Blakesley, who is currently on the ground in Mali:
OXFORD, England (CNS) — Mali’s Catholic bishops praised efforts by their acting head of state to hold the country together and backed his appeal for a “general mobilization” against Islamist insurgents.
“The situation we are living through is very grave and has reached tragic proportions in recent days,” the bishops’ conference said in a Jan. 24 letter to President Dioncounda Traore….
In a Jan. 25 interview with Catholic News Service from Bamako, the regional information officer of the U.S. bishops’ Catholic Relief Services, Helen Blakesley, said aid agencies were worried about potential ethnic clashes as more towns were reoccupied.
She added that they had welcomed a Jan. 18 appeal by Archbishop Jean Zerbo of Bamako for “humanitarian corridors” and said CRS was expecting a new influx of refugees to the capital from conflict-torn central areas.
“There’s still nervousness and tension in Bamako, and the humanitarian time-bomb is ticking,” Blakesley said. “Although there’s some sense of reassurance now, and Malian and French flags are flying in the streets, no one knows which way the fighting will go.”