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Italian Comboni nun killed in the attack in a mission in the city of Chipene

Sister Maria De Coppi (right), the Comboni Sister, killed by terrorists in Mozambique.

A Comboni nun was killed in the attack on a mission in the city of Chipene in the province of Nampula in northern Mozambique, which took place on the night between September 6 and 7.

Sister Maria De Coppi, an 84-year-old Combonian nun from Santa Lucia di Piave was killed in the attack. The nun had been in Mozambique since 1963.

According to reports sent to Fides, the attackers destroyed the mission structures, including the church, the hospital and the primary and secondary school. Sister Maria was hit by a bullet in the head as she tried to reach the dormitory where the few remaining students were.

Two missionaries from the Concordia-Pordenone diocese managed to get away: Fr. Loris Vignandel, 45, from Corva and former parish priest of Chions (Pordenone) and Fr. Lorenzo Barro, who was rector of the diocesan seminary of the city of Destra Tagliamento.

"Sister Maria's fellow nuns have set off to reach Chipene and take her body to bury it in another mission", says to Agenzia Fides His Exc. Mgr. Inacio Saure, Archbishop of Nampula. On the identity of those who perpetrated the attack, Msgr. Suare reports that "we are not sure if they are Islamic terrorists even though it is very likely that they were the ones who attacked the mission".

The province of Nampula together with that of Cabo Delgado is a victim of the instability caused by the presence of terrorist groups that refer to the Islamic State. While in Cabo Delgado the operations of the military from Rwanda and other nations who came to support the Mozambican soldiers were concentrated, the province of Nampula has seen a resurgence of jihadist attacks in recent months.

"In reality - says Msgr. Saure - jihadist groups continue to operate in Cabo Delgado too, but in our province, the assaults have forced the population to flee. We do not know how many people have sought refuge in the forest. It is a terrible drama and still difficult to quantify." - Agenzia Fides 


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