'IDPs fleeing violence in Mozambique's Cabo Delgado'

More than 670,000 people displaced due to conflict, says UNHCR

Felix Tih   | 05.04.2021
'IDPs fleeing violence in Mozambique's Cabo Delgado'


The recent attacks by a terrorist group in Mozambique's town of Palma have severely affected the local population with reports of grave human rights violations, causing forced displacement, according to the UN.

“Reports collected by members of the Protection Cluster indicate that safe exit routes from Palma are almost non-existent,” the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a report on Monday.

“Road access to Tanzania [north] or Nangade District [west] are not deemed safe, forcing a difficult attempt through alternative routes in the countryside through the bush and forests. IDPs that reached [port town] Pemba sought safety at Afungi peninsula."

The UNHCR said IDPs reported that armed groups "specifically targeted civilians on the run, forcing them to hide, resulting in a long journey, which for some took days, until reaching Afungi.”

More than 670,000 people are now displaced in Mozambique due to the conflict in the northernmost province of Cabo Delgado – almost seven times the number reported a year ago.

The UNHCR said 669,256 IDPs fled violence in Cabo Delgado, while 9,871 individuals have been newly displaced due to violence in Palma.

An armed militant group believed to be affiliated with the Daesh/ISIS terrorist group attacked the town of Palma in Cabo Delgado province near the border with Tanzania last month, killing dozens and injuring scores of others. Several people are still unaccounted for.

The militant group locally known as al-Shabaab but with no established links to the armed militant group in Somalia has wreaked havoc in northern Mozambique since late 2017, killing hundreds, displacing communities and capturing towns.

The attacks are especially directed at disrupting investment in oil and gas projects and terrorizing the local population, the Mozambican Oil and Gas Chamber said in a statement last week.

Leaders of the Southern African Development Community, a block of 16 countries, say they have been consulting on how to help the East African country fight the insurgents.

While South Africa said it sent troops to help secure and repatriate stranded nationals, Portugal said it will send 60 soldiers to help the country fight terror.

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