Fr. Eduardo Paixão, a Missionary of the Sacred Heart ministering at St. Anthony’s Parish of Mozambique’s Catholic Diocese of Pemba, told the Pontifical aid foundation that an upsurge of violence is being witnessed after a period of relative calm during the end of the year.
The Brazilian Catholilc Priest who is currently responsible for the missionary area of Meluco said that the region in Cabo Delgado’s Metuge District was relatively calm towards the end of last year.
“The headquarters of Meluco and the other villages were not attacked in November and December. I was in Meluco; we celebrated Christmas with the community and it seemed to us that everything was very calm, that everything was going very well,” he said.
The calm, he explained to ACN Portugal, had been an illusion since it was followed by renewed attacks that were spreading fast.
“On December 30 and 31, attacks began on the village of Nangololo, of Imbada, and then the violence was spreading during the first week of 2022 through the villages of Mariri, which is neighboring Muària, and which had a big school, the biggest school in the Meluco district,” Fr. Eduardo said.
He added, “The village of Mariri was attacked, they burned houses, and the following week there were more attacks in the villages towards the district of Meluco. There were five villages in all in that district that I know of.”
The member of the Missionary of the Sacred Heart further said that people in affected villages “are very afraid, very insecure”, and that the number of fleeing families has been increasing.
A Religious Sister, who is also in the embattled Province and who asks not to be identified, bemoans the insecurity in Mozambican villages that has left civilians with no place to hide.
“The problem is now more serious, because at least at the beginning of this absurd conflict, people could leave and take refuge in their farms or in places chosen as being safe. Now, the insurgents chase the people to their farms; they are stripped of foodstuffs for subsistence and some are killed in a cruel way,” the Catholic Nun says.
ACN Portugal reports that there has been a spate of attacks in recent times on the outskirts of the district headquarters. Most attacks have been witnessed in the villages of Nova Zambezia, Nova Vida, Nkoe, Nanjaba, Imbada, Bangala 2, and Iba, located on the boundary between Macomia and Meluco districts.