Nine members of Sant’Egidio have been killed in Islamist attacks in Mozambique since 2019.
Recent attacks in northern Mozambique have been carried out by the homegrown Ansar al-Sunna group, which the U.S. State Department recently labeled as “ISIS-Mozambique.”
Multiple churches have been burnt, people beheaded, young girls kidnapped, and hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the violence.
“The Islamist guerrillas have set as their goal the creation of an Islamic state. And it has started in the north, but … they want to conquer the whole country,” Fr. Romano said.
“In the province called Cabo Delgado, the goal is to destroy the existing social fabric in order to be able to then rebuild it according to their designs.”
Nearly 800,000 people have been displaced by the violence in Mozambique, according to the United Nations’ Refugee Agency.
“In recent months, Sant’Egidio has tried to cope with the growing demand of internally displaced persons,” Romano explained.
The community, which is present in every province of Mozambique, has been distributing food and medicine to these internally displaced persons, only about 10% of which are in government refugee camps, according to the priest.
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