Maputo (Agenzia Fides). "She is a martyr of the Faith", says His Exc. Msgr. Inacio Saure, Archbishop of Nampula, upon hearing the message of vindication of the self-styled Islamic State (ISIS) about the murder of four Christians, including the Comboni missionary Sister Maria De Coppi in the assault on the Chipene mission on the night of September 6 (see Fides, 7/9/2022).
According to the BBC, the jihadist organization posted the claim on some of its Telegram accounts on behalf of the Islamic State Province in Central Africa. ISIS claims to have killed the nun because she was "too committed to spreading Christianity".
"If the statement is authentic, then Sister Maria is truly a martyr for the faith", says Msgr. Saure in an interview with Agenzia Fides, who expresses his concern that the province of Nampula seems to have been targeted by jihadists, whose activities had so far focused on the neighboring province of Cabo Delgado. "Since the beginning of September there have been attacks in our province", said the Archbishop. "The population is disoriented and suffers a lot because they live in uncertainty and do not know what to do, many are fleeing but do not know where to go", says Archbishop Saure. "I spoke with the bishop of Nancala (where the Chipene mission is located) and he told me that the authorities have sent the military there, but that the population is scared."
The concern of the Mozambican bishops is also shared by their counterparts from South Africa, Botswana and Eswatini of the Episcopal Conference of Southern Africa (SACBC), who in their message of condolence for the death of Sister Maria state: "We observe with growing concern the first attacks in Nampula province on Friday (September 2) in Namapa and last night (September 6) in Chipene. In fact, the attacks are getting closer and closer to the city of Nampula".
"Yes - confirms Msgr. Suare - we are concerned about the advance of the jihadists. In fact, they could attack here in Nampula (capital of the province of the same name)". "I hope that Sister Maria's sacrifice will help keep international attention high on what is happening here", he concludes. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 8/9/2022)