Tanzania returns refugees to Mozambique

By May 20, 2021

Mozambique (MNN) — The United Nations voiced concern for Mozambicans at a press briefing in Geneva this week. Tanzania is sending refugees from northern Mozambique back into danger. Witnesses say at least 1,500 people were returned this month; many of them women and young children.

Voice of the Martyrs Canada CEO Floyd Brobbel is concerned about believers in this group following the end of Ramadan. “Religious leaders can use this type of spiritual event to bolster strong religious fervor,” he explains.

“[It] often becomes a justification for propagating violence against those that are not part of their religion; in this case, non-Muslims.”

Map of Mozambique. The area with the most violence is shown in red.
(Photo by Profoss, CC 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

Christians in northern Mozambique face the most danger, Brobbel says. Terrorists allegedly supported by the Islamic State have turned the region into a warzone. Attacks forced more than 700,000 people to flee in recent months.

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“Mozambique is primarily a Christian country, but Cabo Delgado, which is in the north, is predominantly Muslim,” Brobbel says.

“This group is [causing] insurgency and unrest. They’re attacking not only churches but a lot of schools and government buildings and things like that.”

Instability began in 2017 when radicals took advantage of local frustration. “Companies and the government have been extracting and benefiting from [natural resources], but that benefit has not gone to the local population,” Brobbel says.

Some believers lost everything when terrorists pillaged their village. “[Christians] are often caught in the crossfire and suffer the brunt of these attacks,” Brobbel says.

“We’re hearing of tens of thousands of people being displaced, fleeing. [Some are] hiding in mangroves. But of course, as they hide, they don’t have access to food and water and those types of things.”

Ask the Lord to help His followers in Mozambique. “[Pray] that the Church would not shrink away from what it’s called to do. [Believers are] called to love their neighbors and be salt and light,” Brobbel says.

In the warzone, “meeting is very difficult and risky,” he continues, “but we do find opportunity within the refugee camps to bring Bibles and share the Gospel.”

Pray for stability and peace. “It seems that the government has no political will or ability to quell the insurgencies,” Brobbel says.

 

 

Header image depicts a man from northern Mozambique carrying a traditional ax.  (Photo courtesy of Ton Rulkens/Flickr/CC2.0)