By Vatican News
Church leaders in Malawi have appealed to government authorities to increment protection measures for its citizens and for Catholic churches that have increasingly come under attack by criminals in the past few months.
The appeal comes in the wake of an attack last week by armed bandits who desecrated a parish community at Nsanama, in the district of Machinga, in Malawi’s Mangochi Diocese.
It is the third such attack on Catholic parishes and institutions in the span of two months.
Attack on Nsanama
The parish priest in Nsanama, Fr. Matthew Likambale, reports that on the night of 7 October, the intruders attacked the guard with a metal rod and a machete and restrained him before entering the premises.
The armed bandits then broke into the Convent of the Canossian Sisters and took the Blessed Sacrament. They also pressured the nuns for the whereabouts of the parish priest.
“I want you to know that we had a terrible night after the thieves attacked the Convent of the Canossian Sisters,” Fr. Likambale recounts. “They were looking for me. They pressured the nuns to reveal where I was, but they kept saying that I was not in the convent.”
In all, the bandits made away with cash, a laptop, cell phones and the Holy Eucharist.
Disturbed by the news, Bishop Montfort Stima of Mangochi called on the government “to do everything possible to protect the citizens of Malawi, including the Catholic Church.” However, he added “I know that the government and the police cannot protect every private home.”
The Bishop, therefore, appealed for all to work together to prevent the reoccurrence of such attacks.
Third attack in two months
In September, both St. Patrick’s parish in the Archdiocese of Lilongwe and the parish of Kankao in the diocese of Mangochi were attacked by armed bandits.
Following the September attack on the parish of Kankao, Bishop Stima issued a statement inviting the faithful in the Mangochi diocese to participate in a novena which began on 14 September to pray to Our Lord for those involved to be found.