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Armed men have destroyed the premises of a mission of Benedictine monks in Auasse, Cabo Delgado, northern Mozambique, leading to the escape of four Tanzanian monks to their country, said the bishop of Pemba.
Luiz Fernando Lisboa told Lusa that following the Auasse attack (Mocímboa da Praia district) on Tuesday of last week (May 12), the four Benedictine monks were forced to stay hidden for two days in the bush and managed to escape to a congregation monastery in Tanzania.
Luiz Fernando Lisboa pointed out that the attack is further evidence of the worsening insecurity in Cabo Delgado province.
“They carried out attacks in three districts simultaneously. This deepens the crisis,” he said.
The armed men set fire to the Benedictines’ residence, destroyed what the monks were building in the region, stole various equipment and a car, he added.
“Although the presence of [military] forces is more visible, the situation is not under control,” the bishop said.
The bishop of Pemba stressed that Tuesday’s attack in Auasse was the most significant against a Catholic Church structure, after the incidents in the church of Nangololo during Holy Week.
Insecurity in Cabo Delgado is deteriorating and there is a mass exodus of people, added Luiz Fernando Lisboa.
“There is hunger, because many families, who are also receiving displaced people, are already very poor. This is a very serious problem”, he stressed.
The bishop of Pemba considers that Mozambique needs international aid to stop the violence in Cabo Delgado, because the Defence and Security Forces alone are not able to stop the action of the armed groups.
“Whoever can help, has to offer that help,” says Luiz Fernando Lisboa.
Cabo Delgado, a region where megaprojects for natural gas extraction are advancing, is facing attacks from armed groups classified as a terrorist threat and which have already caused the deaths of at least 550 people in two and a half years.
The Mozambican authorities number 162,000 affected by armed violence in the province.