Attack of Vandalism at a Catholic Church in Guinea-Bissau that was Recently Restored by ACN

A Catholic church in Guinea-Bissau was vandalized. Several sacred images were destroyed in a church that had recently been rebuilt with the help of Aid to the Church in Need. ACN reports that the identity of the perpetrators is still unknown, but there has been concern over growing Islamic militancy in the region.
ACN: The Catholic population of Guinea-Bissau, in Africa, was unsettled by the attack and vandalism July 2, 2022, of the Catholic church of Saint Elizabeth, in Gabú. Gabú is the capital of the region of the same name, and the biggest city in eastern Guinea-Bissau. The region is mostly populated by members of the Fula and Mandinga tribes and is around 90 percent Muslim.
Speaking to Radio Sol Mansi, a local Catholic broadcaster supported by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), the administrator of the Diocese of Bafatá, Msgr. Lucio Brentegani, decried the vandalism, and said that “nothing, and nobody, can separate the Christian community” from the rest of the country.
Christians are a minority of just under 13 percent in this former Portuguese colony in West Africa. Muslims form the majority with around 46 percent of the population, and followers of traditional African religions make up around 40 percent. Despite this fact, this is the first incident of church vandalism in living memory in the country.
Originally built in 1946, the Church had been reopened exactly one year ago, in July 2021, after ACN helped build a new roof, fix up the entrance and provide new electricity and ventilation systems. Before the restoration the building was in a very bad state, and at risk of collapse.
The attackers of the church destroyed the religious images of Our Lady and Saint Elizabeth, the patron of the local parish. A crucifix and an image of Our Lady of Gebra were also smashed.
The regional Secretary of Gabú, Mussá Câmara, declared that the authorities are committed to finding and bringing to justice those who were responsible for this act of vandalism. But the president of Guinea-Bissau, Umaro Sissoco Embaló, when asked by the press about the case, downplayed its importance. “How many times have mosques been robbed here? If a church was robbed, we just have to let the police do their job. A church was vandalized, is that such a big deal? How often are clocks, electric fans or air-conditioners stolen from mosques? Even in the Vatican, or in Mecca, there are cases of theft, is this such a big deal?”

The growing presence of Islamic terrorist groups in this part of Africa had already led the Regional Episcopal Conference of Francophone West Africa, which includes the bishops of Guinea-Bissau, to publish a joint pastoral message in May 2019, in which they call attention to the “unsettling wave of violence” local Christians have faced in the region, and call on all religious leaders to “stand together to denounce any instrumentalization of religion.”
Edited from Aid to the Church in Need - - ACN