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Mozambique, in south-eastern Africa, has a Christian majority of nearly 60%. While Muslims are a minority overall at less than 20%, in the northern coastal province of Cabo Delgado they comprise a majority.

Located some 1,500 miles (2,500 km) north of the capital Maputo, Cabo Delgado is isolated and, despite the discovery of gas reserves in 2010, neglected and under-developed. The local Mwani people (89% Muslim), have yet to see any benefit and many have been evicted from their homes, and lost farmlands and fishing grounds.

In 2020, a militant Islamist organisation called Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama (ASWJ), an Islamic State affiliate, effectively gained control of a very poor area of Cabo Delgado, which since August included the strategic port city of Mocimboa da Praia.

Known locally as Al Shabaab,* ASWJ started operating in Cabo Delgado in 2015, at the same time as radical Muslims from the Gulf, Kenya and Tanzania established a presence there, teaching a violent and extremist ideology. Its first attack was on a police station in October 2017. Since then more than 1,000 people have been killed in over 370 attacks. In 2019 ASWJ pledged allegiance (baya) to Islamic State Central African Province.

In the areas controlled by ASWJ, sharia (Islamic law) is imposed and people who try to escape are killed. Locals are encouraged to join its jihad and train for military operations, this being one of the few ways of earning an income in Cabo Delgado.

When ASWJ kill, it is typically in a grotesquely savage way with bodies hacked to pieces, leaving heads and limbs strewn everywhere. They also burn villages and maim or kidnap their inhabitants. In April 2020, 52 young men in a mainly Christian village were slaughtered when they refused to join ASWJ, and in June a number of church properties and the homes of Christian workers were burnt.

*not the Somali organisation Al Shabaab

*not the Somali organisation Al Shabaab

Mozambican Christian praying about Covid-19
Mozambican Christian praying about Covid-19
Key Prayer

Ask the Lord God Almighty to bring deliverance, peace and stability to northern Mozambique, where relationships between the Muslim majority and the Christian minority used to be good. Thank the Lord that many Muslims still reject violence in the name of Islam.

The above content can also be found in the Praying for the Persecuted Church (2021-2022) booklet

Pages relating to Mozambique