More than a thousand members of the Angolan National Police are mobilized to ensure the safety of the thousands of Catholic faithful planned for the pilgrimage to the Muxima sanctuary, which begins today, the first to be carried out in the post-pandemic period of covid-19.
According to the spokesman for the Luanda provincial command of the National Police, Nestor Goubel, the accompaniment of the pilgrimage to the Muxima sanctuary, in the municipality of Quiçama, will be guaranteed by 1,224 personnel during the four days that the pilgrimage will take place.
Nestor Goubel said that officers from various specialties are deployed, namely joint forces, from the Criminal Investigation Service, the Police Information Service, the Criminal Illegal Investigation Department, the Inspection, the Foreigners Migration Service, the Intelligence and State Security (Sinse), the Luanda Military Region, the 17th Border Guard Unit, firefighters, and the National Institute of Medical Emergencies of Angola (INEMA).
The Luanda police spokesperson said that the sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in the various places of Muxima where the pilgrimage will take place, as well as the placement of political party signs.
“The idea is precisely not to take to that venue during this period any movement that has to do with matters of a political nature”, he stressed.
With regard to traffic, Nestor Goubel appealed to drivers to respect speed limits, and to “always observe defensive driving”.
To facilitate the transport of pilgrims, the government of the province of Luanda made 109 buses available, with special stops at various points in the city at a price of 500 kwanzas per trip.
Speaking to the press, the rector of the Muxima sanctuary, Domingos de Mello, said that more than one million worshipers are expected, while the vice-rector of the sanctuary, Agostinho Cahanda, said that the preparations went in the best way.
The opening program for the act foresees the inauguration of the Casa do Santuário and the celebration of a Eucharist, presided over by the auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Luanda, Fernando Francisco, with this year’s motto “Mamã Muxima, in your hands, we place the people of Angola ”.
The Muxima sanctuary is the largest Marian center in sub-Saharan Africa, located in the municipality of Quiçama, province of Luanda, 130 kilometers from the center of the Angolan capital, and the act is usually carried out in September, but due to this year’s elections it has been moved to August.