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Matola (Mozambique) - The Community of Sant'Egidio expresses its indignation for the barbaric murder of two elderly people charged of sorcery

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14 March 2009
Matola (Mozambique) -  The Community of Sant'Egidio expresses its indignation for the barbaric murder of two elderly people charged of sorcery

Sunday 8 March, Matola, a big center at the gates of Maputo, was scene of a tragic event, that involved two elderly brothers (75 and 80 years old) barbarously killed by the relatives. João and Percina Simbine - these are their names - had been accused of having "stolen the life", with actions of sorcery, from some younger relatives. An accusation that is frequently charged on many elderly persons in Africa and that the Community tries to clash with friendship and support to the elderly.

The Community of Sant'Egidio issued a press release to denounce the event and convened a prayer in memory of the two brothers, on Sunday 15 March.



PRESS RELEASE (translation from Portuguese)
Maputo, 11 March 2009

The Community of Sant'Egidio joins all the voices of the mozambican civil society in condemning the murder of João and Percina Simbine, accused of sorcery.

The shocking murder of the two brothers happened last Sunday, they were 75 and 80 years old.

In Mozambique, like in many other African countries, in the last years the number of the elderly has increased, although the life-expectation has fallen below 40 years due to AIDS. In fact, thanks to better standards of living, many of them reach ages once unhoped-for. Therefore while the number of elderly increases, at the same time AIDS takes a heavy tall of victims, above all young.

This, in statistical terms, provokes a drop of the middle age classes, and, in collective imagery, spreads the idea that it is the exercise of the sorcery to allows some to be aging while very young people die early.

It happens so that the elderly be victims of the superstition or of the local traditions, often inhuman: above all in the smallest towns they may be accused of stealing the life from the youngest.

This is what happened to João and Percina, two more victims of ignorance and of the lack of respect for human life.

The Community of Sant'Egidio expresses worry for the spreading in our towns of a violent attitude against the weaker persons. It is necessary to breakdown the walls of isolation that surround the life of many elderly and to reassert the priority of a culture in defence of life.

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