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Mozambique terror attacks holy week 2020 banner.jpeg
Mozambique terror attacks holy week 2020.jpeg
Aid to the Church in Need
World News

'52 young people massacred': Bishop in Mozambique laments Holy Week jihadist attacks

by Tola Mbakwe

A bishop in Mozambique has decried a spate of devastating attacks by jihadists, including the targeting of churches during Holy Week.

Speaking to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, Bishop Luiz Fernando Lisboa of Pemba, in Cabo Delgado region, said that three districts in the north of the country  have suffered heavy attacks which have been attributed to extremist group Islamic State (ISIS).

The bishop said 52 young people in Muidumbe District were massacred on 7th April for refusing to join the extremists.

 "Seven small towns or villages were attacked in fact during the days of Holy Week, among others that of Muambula where the Catholic mission of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is situated, in Nangololo.

"They attacked the church and burnt the benches and a statue of Our Lady, made of ebony. 

"They also destroyed an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to whom the parish is dedicated. 

"Fortunately, they were unable to burn the building itself, only the benches. 

"They had already attacked and burnt five or six local chapels, but they also burned some mosques. Although ultimately, it seems, the target is the Christian churches. 

"The tragic thing for us is that this mission in Nangololo is almost 100 years old and is the second most important mission in the diocese. So, it was a very tragic attack in what it symbolises."

While he said ISIS has apparently claimed responsibility for the attacks, there's suspicion that a local terror group carried out the atrocities and is using ISIS' name.  

Violence in late March caused people to flee their homes, which has now meant thieves are breaking into homes and looting. 

The bishop described how on 20th April, with tensions running high, people lynched a suspected thief. 

 "Unfortunately, this whole climate of terror has ended up generating insecurity and increasing crime. The people are so weary and very anxious after what has happened," Bishop Luiz said. 

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