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UK archbishop decries brutal Mozambique insurgency

Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury was on a pastoral visit to the country aimed at fostering peace and reconciliation

Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby speaks during the Sunday Choral Eucharist at Canterbury Cathedral, in south-east England on Sept. 11

Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby speaks during the Sunday Choral Eucharist at Canterbury Cathedral, in south-east England on Sept. 11. (Photo: AFP)

AFP

By AFP

Published: November 25, 2022 05:03 AM GMT

Updated: November 25, 2022 05:17 AM GMT

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby on Thursday said the brutality of the extremist violence in Mozambique's northern Cabo Delgado region was overwhelming, after a visit to the jihadist-hit region.

The highest-ranking cleric in the Church of England, Welby made the remarks during a sermon in Cape Town after visiting neighboring Mozambique where he met survivors of the insurgency.

"I felt stunned by what I saw, the cruelty that is there is an overwhelming one, it leaves you breathless, feels as though you have been punched in the stomach with horror," he said at the cathedral where Archbishop Desmond Tutu once preached.

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He said he met in Cabo Delgado people who have been "chased from their homes by ISIS... (and) agonized and tortured before they ran" including young women who saw their babies killed.

The five-year insurgency waged by fighters, who have proclaimed allegiance to the Islamic State group, has claimed more than 4,000 lives -- around half of them civilians, according to global conflict tracking organization Acled. About a million people have fled their homes.

The Archbishop was on a five-day-long pastoral visit to Mozambique aimed at fostering solidarity, peace and reconciliation.

He said he plans to visit Ukraine next week.

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