Increased Violence Against Christians in Mozambique Disproportionately Affecting Children

A woman holds her younger child while standing in a burned out area in the recently attacked village of Aldeia da Paz outside Macomia, on August 24, 2019. - On August 1, the inhabitants of Aldeia da Paz joined the long list of victims of a faceless Islamist group that has been sowing death and terror for nearly two years in the north of the country, which welcomes from September 4 the Pope. (Photo by MARCO LONGARI / AFP)

A strengthening Islamic insurgency movement in northern Mozambique has led to thousands of deaths and is disproportionately affecting children. Meanwhile, the nation’s growing population of evangelical Christians are being targeted for eradication, humanitarians say.

A report released this month by Save the Children, Plan International and World Vision indicated that the situation in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique has worsened over the last year as jihadi groups in the region have increased their violent attacks.

Since October 2017, The Christian Post explains, almost 3,000 people have been killed at the hands of the jihadi insurgency, including over 1,400 civilians. Over 800,000 people have been displaced.

“Children are suffering disproportionately in this conflict and need special attention,” the report urged.

In the last 12 months, there armed conflicts on whole villages and district capital towns have increased.

Meanwhile, the nation has been added to the World Watch List for the first time as a “fresh wave of violence” is taking a “devastating” toll on Christians, according to Open Doors USA director for communications, Amy Lamb.

As evangelical Christianity spreads in the region, Lamb said, “we’re seeing jihadist groups including those who are affiliated with the Islamic state, with al Shabab, with Boko Haram, al Qaeda.”

“It’s just organizing together in order to expand their territories throughout the African continent, and their goal is really to eradicate Christianity from this territory and, unfortunately, in some ways, it’s working,” she told The Christian Post.

“Even specifically from this northern part of Mozambique, an estimated 800,000 people have fled the region, and those who remain, including women, children, families, are facing starvation even if they’re spared from … violence.”

“There is a great deal of instability, and there can even be some anti-Christian antipathy at the government level,” she also explained. “So as far as the government of Mozambique, in some ways, it’s not helping because there are some of those antipathies even at the highest level, so when it’s pervasive at the lower level, it’s combining into a perfect storm.”

Lamb said that the international community must urgently address the growing crisis across the African continent, which she said is “the greatest wave of Islamic violence” in the modern age.

“It should be a matter of grave concern for the international community because it is an indication that there is an emerging caliphate throughout the sub-Saharan African region,” she warned. “So what we saw in the devastation … that’s all caliphate activity.”

“And what’s so concerning is these groups are organizing together to create what’s essentially a new Islamic State throughout the entire region,” Lamb explained. “So that is deeply concerning, not just from a religious freedom standpoint, but also from a democracy standpoint. Also from just the overall human rights condition of we have this one group of incredibly violent extremists who are saying … ‘we’re going to take over.’ It should be a matter of concern for the international community because this is probably the greatest wave of Islamic violence that the modern era has seen.”

The report, meanwhile, gave recommendations to the United Nations and other aid organizations which they say “must, without delay,” work to secure peace and address the underlying causes of the violence.

In March, CP notes, U.S. Green Berets traveled to Mozambique to train their marines to combat the growing insurgency, which has “led to children as young as 12 years old being beheaded.”

“Pray for God’s intervention in the violent attacks, and as rapidly as we have seen this wave of violence rise, that we would see it decline just as fast,” Lamb urged American Christians.

Indeed, we echo this call to prayer.

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