A Christian charity is sending a £90,000 aid package to Mozambique after the horrific massacre of over 50 people by Islamist extremists.
The victims were beheaded execution-style in a football stadium in Muidumbe village, Cabo Delgado, a region in the north where hundreds of attacks have left around 2,000 people dead and 310,000 homeless.
Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is providing blankets, clothing, food and hygiene packs, as well as providing trauma counselling.
Sister Blanca Nubia Zapata said the attackers, from a group calling itself the Islamic State in Central Africa, have been forcing people from their homes.
She told ACN the nuns have been inundated with people needing help.
“It seems as though they are trying to evict the entire population of the northern part of Cabo Delgado province, expelling the ordinary people without the slightest vestige of compassion,” she said.
“Over 12,000 people have arrived here in the past two weeks. We can’t keep up. Women and children are arriving, and older people who have been walking for days. Some have died on the way, on the roads and the forest tracks.”
She continued: “We are doing all we can. Very often, we can do no more than listen [and] ask how they are feeling … they’ve left everything behind, hoping to escape with their lives.
“All they want to do is to get away from there. They are simply terrified. Many of the families have asked our help, and we have rescued the families of the children at the school with immense difficulty, with private vehicles and the help of third parties.”
ACN is supporting the Diocese of Pemba and churches in neighbouring areas in the provision of aid for people from Cabo Delgado.
Regina Lynch, ACN International head of projects, said: “It looks as though there is finally some international attention being paid to this long- running and largely forgotten tragedy over many long and painful months.
“They have burnt down churches and destroyed convents, and also abducted two religious sisters.
“But almost nobody has paid any attention to this new focus of terror and jihadist violence in Africa, which is affecting everybody, both Christians and Muslims alike.”