By Jorge Joaquim
Luiz Lisboa, the former bishop of Pemba, has accused the government of Mozambique of making death threats against him.
Lisboa said he was certain it was the government, because the church was the only source of information on the war in Cabo Delgado province, and the government forbade any discussion of the issue, as “they don’t want the country to be talked about badly”.
Lisboa cited the disappearance of a community radio journalist in Cabo Delgado as evidence. Following a meeting with the Pope, he was offered a transfer to Brazil as his life was at risk.
According to Lisboa, the conflict in the northern province of Cabo Delgado is due to “resources, multinationals and wars”, adding that it was not a religious war but an economic one to control the natural resources in the region, such as gas, gold and rubies.
Lisboa said that the government had neglected the local population and was slow to react to calls for action when warned about groups disrespecting local religious leaders.
The relationship between the multinationals and the region was not good, he added, as they did not follow the law, for example on consulting with the local population, and they caused discontent by expelling people from their land.
In February, the Pope transferred Lisboa from Pemba to a new role as bishop of a diocese in Brazil, and granted him the title of Archbishop. Dom Lisboa has been a prominent voice highlighting the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Cabo Delgado.