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

Mozambique: Attack in Chipene, Italian nun killed.

A terrorist attack Tuesday night at Mozambique’s Catholic Mission of Chipene, Nampula Province, Diocese of Nacala, killed an Italian religious sister.

Dulce Araújo - Vatican News.

Sister Maria De Coppi, an Italian Comboni Missionary, was 83 years old. Terrorists shot her in the head at Chipene Mission, and she died instantly - said the Archbishop of Nampula, Inácio Saúre.

A climate of uncertainty and fear

“In Nampula Province, the atmosphere is one of great sorrow, fear and uncertainty since terrorists last week also attacked the nearby  town of Odinepa. They killed villagers, burnt houses and caused the displacement of hundreds of residents. On Tuesday night, the gunmen descended on the Catholic Mission of Chipene, killing Sister Maria De Coppi. They may strike other places in the Archdiocese,” said Archbishop Inácio Saúre in a telephone interview with Sheila Pires from Johannesburg.

No security to protect the people

“Missionary personnel and ordinary people have no protection in these areas,” explained the Archbishop in response to a question about what the country’s security forces were doing to protect the people. According to the Archbishop, people need protection and pray that authorities will move quickly to nip this evil in its root so that what has happened in the Province of Cabo Delgado does not repeat itself in Nampula. 

Archbishop Inácio Saúre’s assessment suggests that the terrorists are widening their reach. They have spread from Cabo Delgado to Niassa and were now in Nampula Province. The prelate also appealed to the international community to support the suffering people of Mozambique and help find effective solutions to the unfolding tragedy.

Archbishop Inácio Saúre said the Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Nampula would give more details about what had happened there.

Sr Maria to be buried Thursday

Meanwhile, the Comboni Sisters, in a statement signed by Sister Laura Malnati, Provincial Superior in Mozambique, announced that the funeral of Sister Maria De Coppi would be held on 9 September. The funeral service will be held at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish of Carapira, better known as Carapira Mission, at 9.30 a.m. Funeral ceremonies will be presided over by Bishop Alberto Vera of Nacala. 

Sister Maria De Coppi was 83 years old and had lived in Mozambique for the last 59 years, where she first arrived in 1963. During her long sojourn, she passed through several missions: Anchilo, Meconta, Alua, Balama and Chipene, where she worked in the pastoral ministry. Later, she distinguished herself as a religious formator for young women who wished to join the Comboni Missionary Sisters.

08 September 2022, 12:50