Catholic Charity says Church Alarmed by Increased Kidnapping, Indoctrination in Mozambique

Credit: ACN Portugal

Cases of kidnapping in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado Province are on the rise, Catholic Pontifical and charity foundation, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) Portugal, has reported, adding that the situation that also involves deep indoctrination of victims of militant attacks in the country is a matter of concern to the Catholic Church.

ACN Portugal spoke to Catholic Church leaders in Mozambique who said that militants have been targeting women and children in the insurgency that started in 2017.

“There are many children and women who are kidnapped and taken (by terrorists),” Friar Boaventura, from the Institute of the Fraternity of the Poor of Jesus, says in the Monday, April 4 report by ACN Portugal.

He adds, in reference to the militants who have been harassing residents of Cabo Delgado, “When they invade the villages, they take the women, they take the children who end up being trained there in those places and end up being indoctrinated as well.”

Those abducted, Friar Boaventura says, “live a similar life to that of militants what the life of militants in the bush, or in the areas where they concentrate to do their training.”


ACN Portugal reports that the issue of the kidnapping of minors and women by terrorists operating in the Province of Cabo Delgado “is of concern to human rights organizations, particularly the Catholic Church.”

According to the charity foundation, the kidnapping is also a matter of concern for the Mozambican authorities, who last March held a training session for the operational resources that are on the ground in the Northern region of the country.

ACN Portugal narrates that for ten days, at the Chimoio Battalion, operatives working in the Mozambican security sector received training on the prevention of the recruitment and use of child soldiers in Northern Mozambique.

“The objective of this initiative, which ended on March 18, was to improve the capacity to act not only of the military, but of all the agents involved in the fight against terrorists, making them aware of the particularly serious situations in which children find themselves,” ACN Portugal narrates.

The charity entity reports that days after the training ended, more children were abducted in militant attacks that were reported in Cabo Delgado.

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“Only recently, in the second week of March, following a terrorist attack in the village of Nova Zambézia, in the district of Macomia, three minors from the same family disappeared, suspected to have been kidnapped by armed groups that remain active in the region,” the charity reports, adding, “The youngsters, according to reports from family members, are 11, 14 and 16 years old.”

Earlier, in early February, a Catholic Nun in Mozambique said that a new wave of violence was taking place in various parts of Cabo Delgado, with “the systematic kidnapping of people who are in the villages and in the fields, mainly women and mothers with their own children.”

The Religious Sister narrated fresh incidents of kidnapping in which women and children are targeted, and noted that the feelings of insecurity are on the rise in various villages of the Mozambican Province.

The Catholic Nun who preferred to hide her identity for security reasons said that the town “is under very strong tension.”

“Many villages in the outskirts of Macomia have been attacked…There is the systematic abduction of people who are in the villages and in the machambas, mainly women and mothers with their own children,” she said.


ACN, which reaches out to the people of God in countries experiencing religious persecution, has listed Mozambique as one of its priority countries.

The Catholic charity is providing pastoral assistance and psychosocial support to the Mozambican displaced populations to help them through the healing process.

It is also funding the supply of materials for the construction of houses, community centers and also in the purchase of vehicles for the missionaries who work in the resettlement centers that shelter families fleeing the war.

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.