In an interview with Lusa regarding the conflict that opposes the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God in Angola to a group of Angolan dissidents, the diplomat added that João Lourenço already responded to the letter sent on 11 July by his counterpart Brazilian Jair Bolsonaro in which he requested greater protection for members of the IURD, "in order to guarantee their physical and material integrity and the restoration of properties and homes".
Needless to go into details, Paulino Franco de Carvalho, who maintained high-level diplomatic contacts last week, said that the head of state responded in writing to Jair Bolsonaro, reiterating "the excellence of bilateral relations between the two countries" and ensuring that, with regard to the Angolan authorities, this integrity will be guaranteed.
In the letter, "President João Lourenço affirms to President Bolsonaro that everything that concerns this dispute between the IURD here in Angola and former members of the IURD, the so-called dissident group, will have the appropriate treatment, applicable in Angolan justice", told Lusa.
Paulino Franco de Carvalho assured that the objective of the Brazilian government and, by extension, of the embassy "is not to meddle in the decisions taken by the Angolan authorities", but to request that the rights of Brazilian citizens living in Angola be protected, in particular the of the Universal Church, without entering into the dispute between the direction of the IURD and the dissident wing.
Thus, the diplomatic intervention was due, not only to the seizure of the temples, but also to the fact that there were acts of violence against Brazilian citizens, and not only, committed by the group of dissidents, the diplomat stressed, indicating that the embassy received complaints directly and through their social networks, as well as by the management of the IURD.
As for the "invasions" that were concentrated between the 22nd and 23rd of June "they were carried out in a very organized manner, throughout the country, and not only in Luanda", so "there was no possibility for the police to intervene in a timely manner".
It will now be up to the Angolan justice, "to take the corresponding measures so that the criminal complaints that have been filed by the direction of Universal can be accepted and these invaders are removed from the places they occupy, that is, there is a repossession of these properties", he added.
For the ambassador, what is at stake is the preservation of citizens' rights.
We do not consider it reasonable, nor acceptable, that alien properties, third party properties are invaded and there is no reaction from the police forces ", he stressed, reaffirming the guarantees that the authorities will provide the necessary security to the properties, be it the temples or residences where the members of the church live.
The conflict at the IURD in Angola, which has been going on since November last year, intensified last month with the taking of several temples by Angolan bishops and pastors of the Reform Commission of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (IURD) which accuse the Brazilian wing of crimes and practices contrary to religion.
According to the Reform Commission, between the 22nd and 23rd of June this year, pastors "imbued with a spirit of faith and bravery decided to put an end to the bad practices perpetrated by Bishop Honorilton Gonçalves, namely racism, arrogance, abuse of power and trust, which culminated in the effective rescue of temples and places of worship in the 18 provinces of Angola ".