Chad 'open to dialogue' over bishop exit

2012-10-13 22:59


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Vatican City - Chad's government is willing to discuss an expulsion order for a bishop who apparently criticised the management of oil revenues, the Vatican's missionary news agency reported on Saturday.

"The government is open to dialogue to resolve the situation in a positive way," the report in the official Fides agency quoted local Church sources as saying, adding that the hope was for "good relations between Church and State".

The report also quoted its sources as saying that the controversial homily by Michele Russo - an Italian citizen and bishop of Chad's oil-rich southern region of Doba - had been mistranslated from French by a local radio station.

"Monsignor Russo's homily was broadcast by a local radio which provided a translation from French into Ngambay that was not perfectly in line with the bishop's thinking and used words that he did not use," the sources said.

'Against law'

The government on Friday said it was giving Russo a week starting from Sunday to quit the country for "activities incompatible with his status" after a sermon he gave on 30 September was broadcast by a private radio station.

Chad's communications council said the broadcast was "likely to disturb public order" and was against the law but provided no more details.

Chad, which only began to produce oil in 2003, currently produces on average around 120 000 barrels per day, according to government estimates from 2011.

Oil revenue has allowed the poverty-stricken central African country to modernise its army, upgrade its roads and build numerous public buildings.

But there has been criticism of the government in some quarters for not doing enough to better the lives of ordinary Chadians with the windfall.

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