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Churches burned, people beheaded in Mozambique’s escalating extremist violence and the world is remaining indifferent


A Catholic bishop has deplored the world’s indifference to escalating extremist violence in northern Mozambique, where multiple churches have been burnt, people beheaded, young girls kidnapped, and hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the violence.


Bishop Luiz Fernando Lisboa of Mozambique’s Pemba diocese has been an outspoken advocate for the needs of the more than 200,000 people who have been displaced by the violent insurgency. 

In June there were reports that insurgents had beheaded 15 people in a week. Yet the bishop said that the crisis in Mozambique has largely been met with “indifference” from the rest of the world. 

“The world has no idea yet what is happening because of indifference,” Bishop Lisboa said in an interview with Portuguese media June 21. 

“We do not yet have the solidarity that there should be,” he told LUSA news agency.

Paulo Rangel, a Portuguese Member of the European Parliament who has been advocating for European support of the region, said July 23: “The international community is nowhere to be seen in regard to the problem.”

“The people were already living in extreme poverty, facing grave difficulties,” Rangel told Aid to the Church in Need. “The problem is that at the present moment these people are facing the threat of death, of losing their homes, of becoming uprooted.”

More than 1,000 people have been killed in attacks in northern Mozambique since 2017, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Some of these attacks have been claimed by the Islamic State, while others have been carried out by the homegrown Ahlu Sunna Wal extremist militant group, which has been kidnapping men and women.

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