Mozambique’s Terrorist Attacks “taking on a more religious dimension”: Catholic Missionary

Burnt car in Chipene Mission after the attack in Chipene. Credit: ACN

Christians are being targeted in the terrorist attacks in Mozambique, a Catholic Missionary serving in the country’s Pemba Diocese has said, adding that the violent conflict “is taking on a more religious dimension”.

In a report shared with ACI Africa Monday, October 10, the Catholic Pontifical and Charity foundation, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) International, quotes the Catholic Missionary as saying that the Islamic State militant group seems to have taken control of the terrorists who have been operating in Mozambique.

The Catholic Missionary who spoke to the ACN on condition of anonymity said, "For us the situation is more sensitive than it was last year because now the Christians are beginning to be targeted and the war is taking on a more religious dimension.”

In the ACN report shared with ACI Africa, the Missionary says that while the extent to which the terrorists are linked to the Islamic State is unknown, dialogue with members of the terrorist group has “no chance”.

"There will be no chance of dialogue with them, especially if they are assimilated by the Islamic State,” the Missionary is quoted saying, adding, "It looks as though there are going to be fewer options for resolving the problem.”  


Mozambique has been experiencing instability since 2017. At least 700,000 people have been displaced as a result of the violence whose intensity has been increasing, according to the United Nations (UN). 

In the report, ACN International officials say the insurgency, which has been centered in the country's Northernmost province of Cabo Delgado, is extending into the neighboring Nampula Province. 

The head of ACN’s project desk for Mozambique says last month's attack on the Comboni Mission of Chipene shows the increasing intensity of the attacks. 

On the night of September 6, terrorists attacked and burned the Catholic mission based in Nacala Diocese. Sr. Maria De Coppi, a member of the Comboni Missionary Sisters (CMS), was shot dead during the attack.

"The propagation of the terror within the province of Nampula in the last few weeks and the fact that for the first time since the outbreak of this so-called `insurgency’ a Catholic Nun has been murdered by the terrorists only increases our concern that this terrorism is extending throughout the whole north of the country," Ulrich Kny has been quoted as saying.  

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Mr. Kny adds, “At the same time, we are seeing that the religious dimension is steadily becoming more prominent for the terrorists.”

The head of ACN’s project desk for Mozambique says that social inequality in the war-torn regions of the Southern African nation are contributing to the radicalization of the youth

“The whole region, with its rich resources and the hitherto peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Christians, should in fact offer a great potential for development, but the neglect and the poverty of whole sections of the population make it instead a dangerous breeding ground for the radicalisation of the young," the ACN official says in the report shared with ACI Africa.

ACN prays for stability in Mozambique, saying, "May the sacrifice of the life of Sister Maria De Coppi, who shed her blood trying to save the young girls in the boarding house from the terrorists, help us to find solutions for a regional development that will benefit all the population and provide new opportunities for the young, so that peace may return to the region."

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.