Islamic Extremists Massacre 11 Christians in Mozambique, Says Report

Photo: Screenshot from Twitter - Catholic Arena

Islamic State-affiliated extremists carried out a gruesome massacre in northern Mozambique, targeting Christians and exacerbating the ongoing violence that has plagued the region. 


Reports indicate that at least 11 Christians lost their lives in the village of Naquitengue, near Mocimboa da Praia, situated in the province of Cabo Delgado. 

The international charity Aid to the Church in Need, citing information from Friar Boaventura, a missionary in the region, brought this harrowing account to light.

The province of Cabo Delgado has been under a relentless onslaught by Islamist extremists since 2017. The terrorists descended upon the village of Naquitengue last Friday, gathering its inhabitants. In a heart-wrenching twist, they segregated Christians from Muslims based on their names and ethnicity before opening fire on the Christian group, causing further fatalities and leaving several individuals severely wounded.

A local terrorist group, pledging allegiance to the Islamic State, later confirmed in a statement that they had killed 11 Christians. According to Friar Boaventura, the attack left a devastating trail of violence. He stated, “They opened fire on the Christians, riddling them with bullets. The attack was carried out by a local terrorist group that claims allegiance to the Islamic State and which said in a statement that it had killed 11 Christians in the operation. The actual number of victims may be higher, however, and there are also people who are seriously wounded.”

This tactic of segregating Christians from Muslims before launching attacks is not new, according to Boaventura. These attacks have given rise to heightened “tension and insecurity” just as some individuals were beginning to return to their communities. As Sister Aparecida Ramos Queiroz, associated with the Diocese of Pemba, stated, “Only prayer can sustain us because this conflict seems to have no end in sight.”

The persistent attacks in Cabo Delgado, as well as the neighboring Niassa province, have resulted in the internal displacement of approximately one million people. Tragically, over 5,000 people have met a brutal end, as reported by Bishop of Pemba António Juliasse.

Bishop Juliasse, in a recent appeal, urged Christians not to forget the plight of Cabo Delgado, emphasizing that solidarity plays a vital role in alleviating immediate suffering.

Furthermore, disturbing reports have emerged about Islamist jihadists in Mozambique forcibly converting abducted Christian women to Islam and subjecting them to sexual enslavement. Johan Viljoen, director of the Denis Hurley Peace Institute, expressed his condemnation, stating, “We condemn any attempt to force people to change their religion; it is a reprehensible violation of human rights.”

A leaked internal circular from the Islamic State has surfaced, advising fighters in Mozambique to conduct medical tests on non-virgin enslaved women before distributing them among their ranks. The circular also instructs them to kill those who refuse to convert to Islam.

The conflict in Cabo Delgado and its neighboring areas is further fueled by socioeconomic disparities between the capital city, Maputo, and the marginalized north, particularly Cabo Delgado. Members of the Islamic State have been consistently attacking civilians in the region since 2017.

Reports indicate that despite a significant military presence, over 800,000 people in these Mozambican provinces remain displaced.

At least 24 countries have deployed troops to support the fight against insurgents in Mozambique. The Mozambican army has faced accusations of corruption and harboring 7,000 “ghost soldiers,” as reported by the BBC in May 2022.

In March 2021, the United States designated Islamic State-Mozambique as “Specially Designated Global Terrorists.” The group is also known as Ansar al-Sunna and is referred to locally as al-Shabaab. It is reported that the group pledged allegiance to the Islamic State as early as April 2018.

The brutal conflict has claimed numerous lives and led to a humanitarian crisis in the region, with no immediate end in sight. It continues to be a grave concern for the international community.

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