Home Muslim religion Mozambican jihadists have spread to the most populous province

Mozambican jihadists have spread to the most populous province

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MAPUTO, Mozambique (AP) — Extremists allied with the Islamic State group have extended their attacks further south in Mozambique’s most populous province, Nampula, including an assault on a Catholic mission in which an Italian nun was among those killed .

The extremists first hit the province earlier this month and went on the offensive, attacking rural centers and beheading some residents.

Their insurgency has been confined to Mozambique’s northernmost province of Cabo Delgado, where around 4,000 people have been killed and 950,000 displaced in four years.

The violence has also disrupted major economic projects, including that of the French company TotalEnergies to produce liquefied natural gas and the development of a large mine to extract graphite to make lithium batteries for Tesla motors.

The push by extremists in Nampula comes despite the deployment for more than a year of a military force from the Southern African Development Community made up of 16 countries, as well as Rwandan troops, in support of the Mozambican army.

The Islamic State group in the province of Mozambique claimed responsibility for the burning of two churches and more than 120 homes of Christians last week in the province of Nampula.

During their attack on the Catholic mission in Chipene, jihadist rebels shot and killed Sister Maria de Coppi and burned down the church, health center and residential areas, according to Mozambican reports.

At the Vatican on Sunday, Pope Francis said he remembers in prayer the 83-year-old Italian nun who had “served with love for almost 60 years” as a Comboni missionary in Mozambique.

“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,” said the Archbishop of Nampula, Inacio Saure, in remarks relayed by the Agenzia Fides, the Vatican press agency.