According to Corriere del Veneto, Sister Maria left a voicemail for her niece, Gabriella Bottani, shortly before her death.
In the message the nun explained to her niece that the situation had become complicated because “the group they call al-Shabaab, the insurgents, is very close.”
“On Friday they attacked a place in our parish and it seems that yesterday a group entered here, and they are very close. It seems that they are armed, they have already kidnapped people, they have killed people. Wherever they pass, they carry out massacres,” Sister Maria explained.
She then said that “all the people here are fleeing, running away. Today a Father told me that the girls from the [boarding school] should return home and that the four aspirants of the Comboni Sisters will also return to Nampula because there is danger.”
“The situation is sad, very sad,” the missionary continued. “All the people sleep outdoors in the forest, among the plants; those who can, go to the towns of Alua, Mazua, and the centers where they are a little more protected. But many people are still sleeping outside, in the woods. It’s sad.”
Sister Maria repeated several times that it’s “a very sad situation” and that “everyone is escaping: nurses, priests, everyone.”
“They’re shooting here. We’ll see each other in paradise. They are burning the house. If you don't hear from me anymore, I take the opportunity to apologize for my shortcomings and to tell you that I loved you very much. Remember me in prayer,” said Sister Maria.
“I have forgiven those who will kill me,” she said. “You do the same. A hug from me.”
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.