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Churches, NGOs help Mozambicans displaced by Islamist insurgency

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NAMPULA, Mozambique — Sitting on a narrow bench and squashed between her two children in Nampula, Mozambique, Stella Miguel lamented that the government soldiers did not come to protect her family when Islamist militants raided their village in March and killed dozens of residents, including her husband and three other children.

"It pains me when I remember how my family was murdered mercilessly by the militants," said Miguel, 38. "They arrived with trucks at dawn and started shooting and shot my husband and children. The militants killed many people and raped women." Miguel escaped from her home in the gas-rich town of Palma in northern Cabo Delgado province and took refuge at the Catholic Church compound in Nampula.

She is among more than 60,000 people living in Nampula in various camps following spate of attacks by a group of armed Islamist militants known locally as al-Shabab. The displaced Christians and Muslims lack proper shelter, basic supplies and food and also contend with overcrowding and limited access to health care services, especially mental health and psychosocial support. But the Catholic Archdiocese of Nampula is trying to fill that gap, making an effort to help those in need of shelter, clothing, blankets, food and other supplies. The church leaders are also constructing houses for victims of terror attacks who are currently being hosted by the archdiocese.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021