“Appalling, distressing”: Malawi’s Bishops Condemn “in strongest terms” Abduction, Torture, Assault of Catholic Nun

Logo of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi/ Credit: ECM

Catholic Bishops in Malawi have condemned, “in the strongest terms”, the abduction, torture, and assault of a woman Religious in the country’s Catholic Diocese of Zomba.

In a statement issued Friday, April 12, members of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) say they “learnt with deepest shock and dismay that a Catholic Nun was on Thursday morning, April 11th 2024, abducted in Zomba by an unknown occupants of a car that stopped for her pretending to be good Samaritans.”

“The Catholic Nun was assaulted and tortured by the occupants of the car who took her to a destination beyond where she was intending to go,” ECM members recount.

They add, “In the course of assaulting her, the assailants told the Catholic Nun that the assault was due to the fact that they do not subscribe to her faith and to her identity as a Religious.”

“The assailants went further and demonstrated their intolerance by forcefully removing and throwing out of the car window the Rosary and the Cross she was wearing and thus leaving her hurt, helpless and traumatized,” ECM members further recount.


They note that “everyone knows the Rosary and the Cross are Religious articles that give an identity and are a sacred value to an individual who wears and uses them.”

“While we may treat this as an isolated case, we wish to condemn this appalling and distressing incident in the strongest terms,” the Catholic Church leaders emphasize, adding, “This is one incident among several others that have occurred in our country recently and we fear that this has the potential to disrupt the peace that the Malawian society is known for.”

ECM members go on to recall their February 25 Pastoral letter in which they warned Malawians against “developing tendencies that demonstrate Religious intolerance.”

In their April 12 statement, ECM members emphasize the right to freedom of religious practice that they say is enshrined Malawi’s Constitution. 

They say, “Every peace-loving Malawian knows that the Supreme Law of our Nation which is our Constitution provides for freedom of worship and thus every citizen has the right to belong to any religious grouping of his or her choice and cannot therefore be barred from practicing and indeed, manifesting the religion of his or her choice anywhere in the country.”

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“Since this particular matter has been left in the hands of the law enforcers they will diligently investigate this horrific attack on the Catholic nun and other similar cases, so that justice is done and that these degenerating hateful tendencies of religious intolerances are curtailed and dealt with once and for all,” Catholic Bishops in Malawi say.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.