The attack on the Chipene mission is part
of a larger terrorist offensive
Maputo (Agenzia Fides) - The attack on the Chipene mission in which Sister Maria De Coppi was killed (see Fides, 7/9/2022) is not an isolated event, but is part of a progression of attacks by insurgents (likely linked to the self-declared Islamic State province in Mozambique) that began in late August in the two northern provinces of Mozambique.
The terrorist campaign in the southern district of Cabo Delgado province and the northern district of Nampula province began on August 29. Between that date and September 7, four attacks were recorded in Ancuabe and Chure (Cabo Delgado) and four in the districts of Memba (which includes the Chipene mission) and Erati (Nampula). The attackers targeted defenseless civilians working in their fields,
beheading them, with the clear intention of spreading terror among the inhabitants.
Objective achieved, because as His Excellency Archbishop Inacio Saure, Archbishop of Nampula, told Agenzia Fides, "the population is disoriented and in great suffering because they live in uncertainty and do not know what to do, many are fleeing but don't know where to go" (see Fides, 8/9/2022).
The objective of the jihadists seems to be to relieve the pressure exerted by the Mozambican forces and their allies (mainly the soldiers sent by Rwanda) in the northern districts of Cabo Delgado; by expanding the conflict zone, the insurgents hope to force the regular army to disperse its forces.
The Mozambican authorities currently seem to prefer to defend the districts of Palma and Mocimboa da Praia, where the country's gas and oil fields are concentrated. It is no coincidence that the European Union (which sees Mozambique as an important future supplier of hydrocarbons) has announced new military aid to the country.
Leaving the other districts of northern Mozambique to the insurgents, however, risks
putting at least part of the population on the side of the jihadist insurgents, with serious consequences for the stability of the entire region.