, 07 September, 2020 / 11:16 PM
The two nuns of the Congregation of St. Joseph Chambery in Mocímboa da Praia in the Province of Cabo Delgado within the Catholic Diocese of Pemba in Mozambique who went missing after jihadists attacked a port city in the Southern African country at the beginning of August, have been freed, the Bishop of Pemba Diocese has confirmed.
The two nuns, “Inês and Eliane, who work in the parish of Mocímboa da Praia, after twenty-four days spent in captivity, are back among us,” the Local Ordinary of Pemba, Bishop Luiz Fernando Lisboa has been quoted as saying in a Monday, September 7 report.
“The nuns are safe and sound,” Bishop Lisboa said in the report and added, “Let us raise together a hymn of thanksgiving to God and let us continue to pray for all those who are still missing, displaced and suffering the consequences of violence and war.”
The Bishop implored, “We ask God’s blessing for Cabo Delgado and to grant the gift of true peace that we need so much!”
Until last week, the whereabouts of the two Brazilian-born nuns was unknown, Fr. Kwiriwi Fonseca of the Diocese of Pemba telling Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) that nothing had been heard of the two Brazilian nuns since August 5.
Sr. Eliane da Costa and Sr. Inés Ramos went missing early August after jihadists attacked the port city of Mocímboa da Praia in Northern Mozambique.
Since October 2017, the province of Cabo Delgado has been the scene of attacks by armed insurgents that, some months ago, openly declared allegiance to ISIS.
It all started when an Islamist armed group known locally as Al-Sunna wa Jama’a (ASWJ) attacked a police station in Mocimboa da Praia district.
The attacks have been growing in intensity since the beginning of this year.
In July, the Bishop of Pemba described the situation of families that have been displaced following armed conflict in the region of Cabo Delgado as “worrying.”
“The situation of displaced persons in the province of Cabo Delgado is worrying. This has plunged thousands of families into despair and suffering,” Bishop Lisboa said.
In an August 10 interview with ACI Africa Correspondent, the Brazilian-born Prelate said that the violence in Cabo Delgado has “completely destabilized our province.”
“The impact of the crisis is fatal, it has hit every province and all the inhabitants of Cabo Delgado province,” Bishop Lisboa said and added, “There are more than 250,000 displaced people scattered throughout the province in need of assistance.”
The crisis in Mozambique has also attracted international attention.
On August 19, Bishop Lisboa received a phone call from Pope Francis assuring him and the people of Cabo Delgado Province of his prayers.
The leadership of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and ACT Alliance also condemned the violence in Mozambique in the "strongest possible terms" and urged Mozambique's President Filipe Nyusi to intervene and put an end to the atrocities to.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa