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Terror attack on church in Mozambique prompts papal plea

Mozambique on map with flag

hyotographics | Shutterstock

John Burger - published on 02/20/24

Pope Francis visited southeast African country in 2019. Violence again rears its head.

When Pope Francis asked for prayers for Mozambique on Sunday, he lamented the return of “violence against unarmed populations, destruction of infrastructure and insecurity.”

In his Angelus address, the Pope referred to a “Catholic mission of Our Lady of Africa in Mazeze,” which was burned down February 12. 

According to the news agency ACI Africa, a terrorist attack on the port town of Pemba included the torching of Our Lady of Africa Mazeze’s church, rectory, and offices.

The parish is in the Diocese of Pemba in Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado.

Fr. Salvador Maria Rodrigues de Brito, the pastor, said the terrorists came “heavily armed.”

“It was exactly 6 p.m. … when they entered and took over the town of Posto Mazeze,” he told Radio Pax February 14, adding that no casualties were reported.

“A lot of people had already evacuated, of course,” the priest said.

Fr. Rodrigues de Brito, who was born in Brazil, said the terrorists attacked the headquarters of the Mazeze Administrative Post, “destroying the infrastructure of the local authorities, the health center and the local school.”

They “also attacked and destroyed mission buildings, especially the rectory, the church and the parish office, some of which were recently built, but with no reported human victims.”

According to the CIA’s World Factbook, violent extremists began conducting attacks against civilians and security services in Cabo Delgado in October 2017. An official media outlet of the Islamic State group recognized the terrorists as ISIS’s network in the southeast African country for the first time in June 2019.

Pope Francis visited Mozambique in September 2019. The latest attack prompted him to remark on Sunday at the Vatican, “Let us pray for peace to return to that tormented region.”

Tags:
AfricaPersecution of ChristiansPope FrancisTerrorism
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