400,000 displaced children: wave of violence overtakes Mozambique

Beheadings, rapes, kidnappings: brutal attacks in Mozambique are causing incredible suffering and driving thousands of people away.

400,000 displaced children: wave of violence overtakes Mozambique

Beheadings, rapes, kidnappings: brutal attacks in Mozambique are causing incredible suffering and driving thousands of people away. Women and children in particular suffer from the terrorist militia Islamic State and other Islamist rebels in the north of the country.

A new wave of violence has forced nearly 10,000 people to flee in Mozambique's conflict-ridden northern province of Cabo Delgado since early June. Among those affected are mainly women and children, as the aid organization Save the Children announced. The displaced experienced and witnessed murders, rapes, kidnappings and other acts of violence. At least four people are said to have been beheaded in the attacks.

"These attacks represent a major setback," said Save the Children Mozambique Country Director Brechtje van Lith: "Despite efforts to bring peace to Cabo Delgado, violence continues. This new wave of attacks and displacement is particularly worrying given that it affects children who were already uprooted and who are witnessing fighting for the second time."

This time, according to Save the Children, the district of Ancuabe, which had been spared from attacks, was particularly affected. There were many internally displaced persons who had been displaced months earlier due to attacks. The displaced now lived in emergency shelters in neighboring districts in "catastrophic conditions" without adequate access to shelter, toilets, clothing and food.

In northern Mozambique - a region in which the French energy company Total is involved in a billion-dollar liquefied gas project - Islamist rebels have been carrying out brutal attacks since 2017. In March 2021, the port of Palma was attacked by extremists. The terrorist militia Islamic State (IS) then announced that it would take the city. According to the UN refugee agency, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced and scores of others have been killed.

The number of children displaced by the conflict in Cabo Delgado has risen from 370,000 to more than 400,000, according to the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare. After a long period of silence, violent attacks have again taken place in the crisis region in recent weeks. President Nyusi had only declared in September that all insurgent-held districts in Cabo Delgado had been recaptured.

Last July, the European Union decided on a military operation in which soldiers from EU countries would train Mozambique's armed forces. The trainers are mainly provided by the former colonial power Portugal.

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