ACN launches projects for displaced persons in Nigeria and Mozambique

The papal foundation, which supports persecuted Christians around the world, approves two new projects for displaced Christians. You will help refugees from the Cabo Delgado province in Mozambique and the Nigerian state of Borno.

By Lisa Zengarini

The Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) will launch two newly approved projects to help Christian communities escape Islamist militias in Nigeria and Mozambique. In recent years, the increase in attacks by local and transnational jihadist groups in several African countries has forced thousands of people to leave their homes and livelihoods, leading to serious humanitarian crises. Mozambique and Nigeria are among the worst hit by the violence.

The Cabo Delgado conflict

Since 2020 there has been an escalation of attacks by Islamist insurgents in the province of Cabo Delgado in northern Mozambique, who are connected to the so-called Islamic State and target state authorities, the military, the police and civilians, both Christians and Muslims . Two-thirds of these attacks were against civilians, displacing an estimated 730,000 people since the riots began in 2017.

Boko Haram in Nigeria

Similarly, local communities in Nigeria have been subjected to terrorist attacks and kidnappings by Islamist Boko Haram militias for over a decade in connection with longstanding problems of religious and ethnic violence. The violence escalated dramatically in 2014, killing over 10,000, while the terrorist group, which recently signed up to the Islamic State, drastically expanded its territories.

The two projects

In this context, ACN is funding two new projects to help Catholics against Islamic violence in the two African countries. The projects complement the 25 aid initiatives funded in 2020 with a total of over 1.7 million euros. The first project will benefit the parish of St. Paul in Pulka, which is home to many Christian refugees who are fleeing the city of Maiduguri in the Nigerian state of Borno. Attacks by Islamic militias are very common here and the pastors urgently need drinking water for the refugees. ACN’s Italian office is raising money to build a well equipped with a solar-powered pump. The second project is for the Quelimane diocese in Mozambique, which helps Christian refugees from Cabo Delgado. The funds raised are used to support the aid measures for 500 displaced families living in the region.

Violence causes increasing poverty

ACN’s Italian office manager, Alessandro Monteduro, commented on the two projects that jihadist violence not only claims victims, but also destroys infrastructures and leads to the loss of their livelihoods and the forced relocation of farmers who cannot harvest their crops, leading to famine . He also warned of the danger that extreme poverty and extremist propaganda could tempt some frustrated youth to join the ranks of the jihadist militia. “The combination of these factors is likely to force the international community to react, not so much for noble reasons as to curb growing migratory pressures from Africa,” he said.

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