Robbery on a mission in Mozambique. Perpetrators still unidentified

Sister Maria de Coppi had been working in Mozambique since 1963. Just before the attack, she recorded a message to her niece: “The situation is very tense. In recent days, Islamist rebels have attacked many places in our parish, kidnapping people and brutally murdering people. There is fear, who can flee to safer areas. Many people sleep in the forests. Pray that the Lord would protect us and take care of this nation. “

The Chipene mission was attacked on September 6, after dark. It is located on the border of the Cabo Delgado region, where jihad has been strengthening for years and from where hundreds of thousands of Christians have already fled. The government is unable to control the criminal groups and Islamic terrorists who have seized power to have free access to this land, which contains many invaluable minerals. There is great fear, people are fleeing en masse.

– The relief of the army came to us only two hours after the attack – says Fr. Barro. He is an Italian fidei donum missionary who, along with a second priest, survived the attack, as did two other missionaries. One pretended to be dead, the other took refuge in a nearby forest with the novices. Both priests and sisters have temporarily moved to safer missions, but they too are at risk of possible attacks.

– Large crowds of people are fleeing because there is a fear that the attack on our mission is a harbinger of something great that is only about to begin. It is a clear saying to us: there is no place for you here, you have to get out of here. There must be a reason that they spared us, even though they had the opportunity to kill us, says Fr. Barro. – The attack on our mission was not accidental, it was a well-planned action. The challenge now will be to help refugees, we are talking about 300,000, to which you need to add 800,000. people who had fled these areas before from the jihadists. This is a huge blow to Mozambique. We try to stay in touch with our catechists and parishioners to help them find a safe haven. Remember that these attacks have been going on since 2017. After meeting with the bishop, we will decide what to do next. There is no way to continue the mission in Chipene because all the structures have been destroyed and terrified people have fled and no one is left there.

The funeral of the murdered missionary will take place tomorrow. In accordance with her will, Sister Maria de Coppi will be buried in the Comboni Cemetery, where many priests and sisters are buried who gave their lives serving the people of Mozambique. – Sister Maria loved this country and its people. She used to say that she was happy to serve those whom no one remembers. When I mention her sacrifice and devotion, the more striking me is that it was she who was murdered – says Fr. Barro.

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