Mozambique: nuns still missing after Islamic State attack

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Sister Inés Ramos, who is over 70 years old, and Sister Eliane da Costa, of the congregation of St. Joseph of Chambéry are still unaccounted since the attack in early August.

Mozambique
Mozambicans on their way to work. ©Gustavo Kralj/GPImages

Newsroom (September 4, 2020 Gaudium Press) Two Brazilian nuns are still missing after the attack by elements of the self-proclaimed Islamic State on the port city of Mocimboa da Praia.

Sister Inés Ramos, who is over 70 years old, and Sister Eliane da Costa, of the congregation of St. Joseph of Chambéry are still unaccounted since the attack in early August.

“We are hoping that they are still alive but have no means of communication. We have not had any official notification,” Fr. Kwiriwi Fonseca, from the diocese of Pemba in northern Mozambique, told Aid to the Church in Need.

Mozambican army prepares operations to regain control of the city

In attacks from August 5 to 11, the jihadists took over two military bases near the port town of Mocimboa da Praia. Since then, the town has been cut off from the rest of the country. As reported by AFP, the country’s army is preparing an operation to regain control of the city.

Fr. Kwiriwi said that there were about 60 people in the care of the sisters at the time of the attack, whose fate is also unknown.

The diocese of Pemba, where the port city is located, has experienced an escalation of extremist violence with multiple churches burned, people decapitated, girls abducted and more than 200,000 people displaced by violence.

Since 2017 more than 1,000 people have died in attacks in northern Mozambique.

The Bishop of Pemba, Monsignor Luiz Fernando Lisboa said that in April extremists had already burned five or six local chapels, as well as some mosques. He said the historic mission of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Nangolo was also attacked this year.

During this year’s Holy Week, insurgents carried out attacks in seven cities and towns in Cabo Delgado province, setting fire to a church on Good Friday and killing 52 young people who refused to join the terrorist group, Lisboa told Aid to the Church in Need.

With information from CNA.

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