(ZENIT News / Lisbon, 08.05.2023).- In the context of World Youth Day (WYD), media reported that a group of nearly 190 young people from two African countries, Angola, and Cape Verde, were missing. The claims were based on a fact and a statement. The fact is that they did not check in at the diocese of Leiria-Fátima, which was supposed to host them, in the days before the start of WYD. The statements by Claudia Rosa, head of the Foreigners’ Service of the Republic of Portugal: “These are individuals who entered the country legally but did not reach their destination.” 168 of these pilgrims come from Cape Verde, and 27 more from Angola. The youngest in the group is 19 years old.
One of the clergymen accompanying them revealed that they were not missing but simply did not attend the pre-WYD activities in the hosting diocese, as it was not mandatory. “Some pilgrims arriving in Lisbon chose to stay in the city, where they found accommodation with relatives and friends, instead of going to Leiria to participate in activities. No one informed them that the activities were compulsory,” he added.
On the other hand, the bishop of the Angolan diocese of Cabinda stated that 5 young people left the group and have no intention of returning to their home country. This was reported to the authorities. The rest of the young people have been participating in the regular WYD activities.