Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world. Between 1977 and 1992, civil war nearly destroyed this south-east African country. The consequences can still be felt today. Nevertheless, it was still peaceful here – until recently. Since 2017, jihadist attacks have massively increased, many leaving various Church facilities severely damaged or destroyed. ACN supports the local Church, primarily through emergency aid, and helps it provide pastoral and psychosocial support to refugees.
56.7% of Mozambique’s approximately 32 million inhabitants are Christians; 17.5% are Muslims. However, in the northernmost province, Cabo Delgado, Muslims make up the majority of the population. A jihadist group called “Al Shabaab” has been active there since October 2017 and has modern weapons at its disposal. In total, more than 1,090 jihadist attacks have been recorded in Mozambique since 2017. The armed conflict between rebels and government troops has since claimed thousands of lives; entire swathes of land have been devastated and more than 750,000 people have been forced to flee.
No one is asking for martyrdom, but it can happen at any time.Bishop Antonio Juliasse, Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Pemba
The Church in Mozambique is also increasingly a target of terror. Several churches have already been completely destroyed and several parishes in the Diocese of Pemba are now deserted. Most priests and sisters in the embattled regions have fled with their faithful. Where they are able to find refuge, they try to continue pastoral care among the refugees from their parishes. Representatives of the local Church report catastrophic humanitarian conditions, which are further aggravated by the Covid-19 crisis. They also complain about unimaginable atrocities and numerous abductions, especially of children and young people.
ACN promotes psychological training
In addition to building grants and support for priests, religious and seminarians, ACN was able to support the Church in Mozambique in 2021 with over 580,000 euros for refugee work alone. To alleviate the most urgent need, we have provided an emergency grant of 110,000 euros in order to offer shelter for refugee families.
Just as important as the construction of emergency shelters for internally displaced persons in Mozambique is the psychosocial and pastoral care of the people, most of whom have been severely traumatised by the terror. With our help, more than 120 pastoral workers and volunteers in the Diocese of Pemba have received psychological training. We also support the neighbouring dioceses of Nampula, Nacala and Lichinga in conducting training courses on psychosocial support.