AFRICA/MOZAMBIQUE - Forgotten war in Cabo Delgado: number of internally displaced persons increases

Friday, 1 April 2022 jihadists   violence   refugees  

Maputo (Agenza Fides) - The population continues to flee from Cabo Delgado, the northern Mozambican province where an insurrection led by armed jihadist groups has been ongoing since 2017. According to the latest report from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the number of displaced people in the province grew by 7% between December and February. A survey conducted between January and February registered an additional 49,100 people as displaced compared to the last survey in November. 784,000 people are currently fleeing. The causes of the increase in the number of internally displaced people include attacks by armed rebels in the areas of Nangade, Meluco, Macomia and the Quirimbas Archipelago. The statistics also include people displaced as a result of attacks in Niassa province in December. Most families fleeing the war live in host communities, while about a quarter are housed in purpose-built camps. The provincial capital of Cabo Delgado, Pemba, is the district where the largest number of IDPs live (around 152,000 in total), followed by Metuge (124,000). At the other end of Cabo Delgado, to the north, near the Tanzanian border, the main target is Mueda (with a total of 85,000 IDPs). The latest attack came on March 24 when an armed group attacked Macomia, one of the main villages in Cabo Delgado, forcing residents to hide in the forest. IOM says children continue to make up about half of the displaced population and food and shelter are the main needs. According to the medical aid organization Doctors Without Borders, children are also at risk of being kidnapped by armed groups. In February, at least seven children were abducted by gunmen, including three girls and four boys, MSF reports, expressing fears that the children could be recruited as soldiers or forced into marriages. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 1/4/2022)