The Pontifical charity reports that kidnapping is a tactic frequently used by the jihadists who have been waging an insurgency in Mozambique since 2017.
Fr. Fonseca is responsible for communications in the Diocese of Pemba and maintains contact with scores of victims who have been displaced by the terrorist violence. He is also in constant contact with other Priests and women and men Religious ministering within the Province of Cabo Delgado.
He once said, in reference to the increased abductions, “I believe the object is radicalization.”
“We are talking of children and young people who were torn from their homes last year, or the year before,” the Priest said in a past interview and added, “It’s a long time to be in contact with evil, and one ends up assimilating this evil. Interacting with them can end up converting them into the worst kind of terrorists.”
The Priest attested that Catholic Nuns are among those who have once been abducted and held by militants for days.
Sr. Eliane da Costa, a Brazilian Catholic Nun who was serving in the Northern town of Mocímboa da Praia is one of the Nuns that has been held by jihadists.
“Sr. Eliane da Costa was kidnapped in August last year when this port city fell into terrorist hands, and afterwards dozens of people were kidnapped,” ACN said in a past report, adding that another Religious, Sr. Inés Ramos, was also among those that were taken away.
Both Catholic Nuns who witnessed the experience of the abducted children belong to the same Congregation of St. Joseph of Chambéry.
In a past interview with the Pontifical Foundation, Fr. Fonseca recalled his conversation with one of the Nuns, saying, “Sr. Eliane herself was held for 24 days by the terrorists, in the mountains, and she begged me, Padre Fonseca, please don’t forget the people who have been abducted, above all the children and adolescents, who are being trained to become terrorists.”
He said, “First of all, we have experienced two Sisters being kidnapped in the bush… The Sisters were not forced to convert to Islam. The treatment was good but the abductors wanted some money.”