Catholic Religious Sister Killed in Mozambique

A Terrorist Attack on a Catholic Mission Resulted in the Death of an 84-year-old Italian Nun.

Newsroom (07/09/2022 12:30, Gaudium PressThe Italian nun, Maria De Coppi, was murdered by armed men in northern Mozambique.

Sister Maria De Coppi was 84 years old and belonged to the congregation of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus.

The mission of São Pedro de Lúrio de Chipene, in the northern state of Nampula, was invaded and attacked by armed men on the night of September 6-7.

All the mission facilities: church, hospital, children’s and teenagers’ school were destroyed by the invaders, according to Fides news agency.

The religious sister was hit by a bullet in the head when she was trying to join the dormitory of the students. A local traditional chief also lost his life in the attack.

Insecurity in the Nampula Region

The priests and the other religious and lay people of the mission escaped the attack alive and were taken to the city of Nacala, also in the state of Nampula.

The Chipene mission is located in a forested area and is a major support center for the local population.

The state of Nampula had already suffered an attack on September 2, and the mission of São Pedro was on the verge of being attacked as well.

The Comboni Missionaries decided to evacuate 80 children, boys and girls, to protect them from an eventual invasion of the rebels.

On the night of September 6, however, the mission territory was invaded by groups of armed rebels.

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St. Peter of Lúrio Mission in Chipene

The founding of the mission of St. Peter of Lúrio of Chipene was done in 1963, by Sister Maria De Coppi herself, a religious born in the Italian region of Veneto, who had been in the country for 59 years as a missionary.

Currently the mission is run by the diocese of Concordia and Pordenone and is staffed by two priests.

The attack against the Chipene mission is not the first against Catholic establishments. The mission of Nangololo was completely destroyed in October 2020.

Increase in Violence in the Country

The climate of violence increased in Mozambique after 2017, when jihadist groups opposed the government and began to cause terror in the north of the country.

In recent months, terrorist groups linked to the Islamic State have attacked several areas of Nampula province. The result is the massive departure of the inhabitants.

The director of Italian “Aid to the Church that suffers”, Alessandro Monteduro explained in a commentary that “The growth and concentration of criminal organizations, Islamic radicalization and jihadist terrorism since October 2017 represent the greatest threats to the population (…)” (FM)

With information from Vatican News

Compiled by Florence MacDonald


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