A local missionary says Christians were separated from their Muslim neighbours and slaughtered in cold blood.
A group of at least 11 Christians was massacred by terrorists loyal to the Islamic State, in northern Mozambique, on Friday 15 September.
According to information provided to the international charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) by Friar Boaventura, a missionary in the region, the killings took place in the village of Naquitengue, near Mocimboa da Praia, in the province of Cabo Delgado, Mozambique.
The area has been subjected to attacks carried out by Islamist fundamentalists acting in the region since 2017.
According to Friar Boaventura, terrorists arrived in Naquitengue in the early afternoon and summoned the entire population. They then proceeded to separate Christians from Muslims, apparently based on their names and ethnicity.
“They opened fire on the Christians, riddling them with bullets”, says the missionary located in northern Mozambique. The attack was carried out by a local terrorist group which claims allegiance to the Islamic State, and which said in a statement that it had killed 11 Christians in the operation. The actual number of victims may be higher, however, and there are also people who are seriously wounded.
Friar Boaventura, of the Poor of Jesus Christ brothers, says that this is not the first time this method has been applied and that the result was generalised panic in the area. “Unfortunately, when these things happen the population gets very scared”.
The attacks, he says, took place at a time when “many people were beginning to return to their communities”, which has led to increased “tension and insecurity”.
“We must pray for our brothers who are in so much pain”, the missionary told ACN. His call is echoed by that of Sister Aparecida Ramos Queiroz, who works for the Diocese of Pemba, and who told the pontifical charity that “only prayer can sustain us, because this conflict seems to have no end in sight”.
Attacks in Cabo Delgado and the neighbouring province of Niassa have led to the internal displacement of around one million people, and around five thousand people have been brutally murdered, according to the local Bishop of Pemba, António Juliasse.
In a recent message to participants in World Youth Day, in Lisbon, the bishop asked that Christians not forget Cabo Delgado. “There is a war in Cabo Delgado that is not being discussed. Your solidarity with Cabo Delgado helps to alleviate the immediate suffering of this people who are in such need”, the bishop concluded.