Mozambique, located in south-east Africa, is the tenth poorest country in the world. In many places, the consequences of the civil war that raged here between 1977 and 1992 can still be felt today. In recent years, the population has had to endure severe natural disasters. The north of the country has also been plagued by jihadist terror since 2017, which has triggered a wave of refugees in the region. The Church has also been affected by severe attacks. ACN supported the local Church in 2020 with a whole range of measures, focusing on emergency aid for the displaced.
Just under 19% of Mozambique’s population of around 30 million are predominantly Sunni Muslims. However, in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique’s northernmost province, they make up the majority of the population. Until recently, coexistence was peaceful. But since October 2017, the jihadist group “Ahlu-Sunnah Wa-Jamu” (ASWJ) has been terrorising the region. The “jihadists” have modern weapons and are particularly active in the Diocese of Pemba.
Everybody loses in war, but the poorest suffer the most.Bishop Luiz Fernando Lisboa of Pemba
By December 2020, more than 2,500 people were killed there in over 600 attacks. Many villages have been depopulated. At least 560,000 people are now on the run. Even the Church has not been spared from attacks: the mission station of Nangololo, the Benedictine monastery of Auasse, the parish church of the port city of Mocímboa da Praia, a Catholic radio station and several chapels were attacked and destroyed. In most cases, the missionaries managed to escape to safety, but in a recent attack on Mocímboa da Praia in August 2020, two religious sisters were kidnapped and only released after 24 days.
For the Diocese of Pemba, which was badly hit by the attacks, ACN provided emergency aid amounting to 160,000 euros in 2020 for the initial care of displaced people. But the traumatised people also urgently need pastoral and psychological care, which we also support.
In addition, we were able to financially support religious radio programmes that are broadcast over the stations in the Diocese of Pemba. Especially in the current crisis, the broadcasts give many believers, especially amongst the refugees, inner stability and hope. In the year under review, further funds were used for material support for religious sisters, Mass stipends for priests and for the training of seminarians.