The Director of DHPI further said that testimonies of attacks in Chiure where the Scalabrini Sisters have a temporary mission have been gathered. He said during the June 15 interview, "Villages were attacked and people were beheaded” in an attack that took place last weekend.
“The fear is spreading, people fear this is a return to full scale conflict and war in Cabo Delgado,” Mr. Viljoen said, adding, "There is great concern about the attacks in Chiure and Ancuabe. We do have missionaries and Priests and Nuns in those areas.”
He went on to regret the fact that the coverage of the war in Ukraine has overshadowed the Mozambican crisis. “It's a developing situation and of course with the war in Ukraine; these latest attacks haven’t even made it onto any global news media, it is a cause for great concern," the Director of the peace entity of SACBC told ACI Africa.
In January, DHPI officials faulted reports that the Rwandan and Mozambican forces had stopped the operations of terrorists in Cabo Delgado saying they continue “to receive numerous reports of ongoing atrocities against civilians, in the areas supposedly stabilized by Rwandan and Mozambican forces."
The Ministry of Defense (MOD) officials in Rwanda had reported that the partnership between its military forces and those of Mozambique had been successful in "stopping and neutralizing the Ansar Al Sunnah Terrorists" who had been operating in Cabo Delgado.
In the June 15 interview with ACI Africa, the DHPI official said the violence in Mozambique’s Northernmost Province is not religious as reported by the media.
“The whole media depiction of this as a religious conflict to establish an Islamic State is not the truth. The truth is that this is a conflict over mineral resources and that we have to see who are the ones who are profiteering from the war," said Mr. Viljoen.
Making reference to a recent report in which the President of the Episcopal Conference of Mozambique (CEM) clarified on minerals as the cause of the violence, the Director of the peace entity of SACBC said, “Archbishop Inácio is saying what we've been saying the whole time, and what everybody in the North of Mozambique has been telling us.”
Mr. Viljoen also said that Catholic Bishops in Mozambique are "100% correct" by saying Cabo Delgado is not yet safe for the IDPs to return.
“As I say, it's a developing story. We will see where it is headed, but I think the position of our church leaders has been vindicated in view of the latest developments”, DHPI Director said during the June 15 interview.