CAPE TOWN, South Africa -- Faith groups in Malawi are calling for international support as they seek major reforms in the southern African country, a Catholic church official said.
"Malawians are desperate for a government that responds to their concerns," said Chris Chisoni, national secretary of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace.
Nineteen people died in Malawi in clashes with police during July 20-21 protests against government policies and a shortage of fuel and foreign currency.
The Public Affairs Committee, which includes Catholic bishops, Protestant and Muslim representatives, has called for a "proper investigation with the support" of the Southern African Development Community and the United Nations into the clashes and their causes, Chisoni said in an Aug. 26 telephone interview from the capital, Lilongwe.
The United States and Britain have cut aid to Malawi, which depends on donors for as much as 40 percent of its budget, because of disagreements with President Bingu wa Mutharika and the police response to protests.