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03/28/2021 Mozambique (International Christian Concern) –Hundreds of Islamic Terrorists have seized the town of Palma in the Cabo Delgado province of Mozambique, killing an unknown number of people and leaving hundreds more missing.

“There has been heavy fighting since March 25, 2021, when the group…raided the gas-rich town, killing and wounding an unknown number of civilians and causing mass flight.” Reported Human Rights Watch, adding that witnesses “saw bodies on the streets and residents fleeing after the Al-Shabab fighters fired indiscriminately at people and buildings. Mobile phone signals have been disrupted, making it harder to obtain information about the situation, the casualties, and the whereabouts of many residents. The attack unlawfully targeted civilians in their homes in violation of the laws of war.”

Over the past three years, an insurgency has been rising in Northern Mozambique which has left over 2,500 people dead and 700,000 forced to flee. Though this fight started as a local struggle between a gang and the wealthy businessmen and government who were taking the region’s natural resources, it has become an international crisis. The rebel group has now been claimed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and is receiving aid from outside the country’s borders. The government responded slowly to the growing threat and allowed the rebel group, locally known as al-Shabab, though not affiliated with the Somali group, to gain a foothold in the region.

In a video last year, one al-Shabab leader spoke about Islam and his desire for an “Islamic government, not a government of unbelievers”, while also complaining of abuses by Mozambique’s military. “Observers say the evolution of the insurgency in Mozambique is remarkably similar to Boko Haram’s emergence in northern Nigeria”, wrote BBC News, “with a marginalized group exploiting local grievances, terrorizing many communities, but also offering an alternative path for unemployed youths frustrated by a corrupt, neglectful and heavy-handed state.” 

2021 was the first year that Open Doors listed Mozambique as one of the worst countries in the world to be a Christian. Pemba is the capital of the Cabo Delgado province, the country’s most violent region that has seen believers killed in staggering numbers at the hands of extremists, with thousands of others kidnapped or forced to flee. We ask that you join us in praying for the Lord to bring peace to Mozambique, to strengthen the governments protection over its people, and to heal the trauma that thousands have had to endure. We also ask that you pray for the perpetrators of this attack, that they will be blessed with knowing the truth of the gospel and accept Jesus’s love for them.

For interviews please contact Alison Garcia at press@persecution.org