By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) - Christians urged prayers for a grieving widow in northern Mozambique after her husband, a pastor, was beheaded by Islamic militants.
The woman was forced to bring her husband's severed head to police following the December 15 attack, military and Christian sources said.
The pastor's name, a resident of the Nova Zambezia area in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, wasn’t released amid security concerns.
Authorities have linked the murder to a group linked to the Islamic State group, Worthy News learned. “Even though members of this terrorist group refer to themselves as "al-Shabab," they are not associated with the Somali group of the same name,” said advocacy group Voice Of the Martyrs Canada (VOMC).
“In March, the perpetrators carried out a series of other attacks in the areas,” added VOMC, which closely follows the situation. “[They were] boasting they killed dozens of security personnel and Christians, including Westerners from what they termed the "crusader nations."
VOMC said the killing of the pastor and other crimes are “the latest tragedy” to take place amidst a four-year-long Islamist insurgency that devastated the north of the African nation.
It urged its supporters to “Please prayerfully uphold this grieving widow,” ahead of Christmas, “asking God to comfort her anguishing heart,” and for “healing from the trauma.”
VOMC said prayers were also needed for those “persecuting the church” in the divided nation to “see the “Light of the World" as our Saviour is aptly referred to in the Gospel.”
The Islamist insurgence has reportedly undermined plans by President Filipe Nyusi to reform his country. More than half of Mozambique’s 24 million people live below the poverty line, according to official estimates.
However, reporting on the challenges can be dangerous for journalists, suggested the Reporters Without Borders group. It noted that journalists upsetting the government risk intimidation and threats, and self-censorship is commonplace.