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Women in the Tara Tara district of Matuge, northern Mozambique, at a center for displaced people fleeing attacks in Cabo Delgado Women in the Tara Tara district of Matuge, northern Mozambique, at a center for displaced people fleeing attacks in Cabo Delgado  (AFP or licensors)

Cabo Delgado villagers face violence, displacement, hunger, disease

About 2,700 people have died since a conflict began in 2017 in Cabo Delgado, a province in north-eastern Mozambique. Almost 670,000 others have fled their homes and some 950,000 are facing famine.

By Linda Bordoni

The Cabo Delgado crisis is rooted in endemic poverty, corruption and political neglect that analysts say has provided fertile ground for recruitment and empowerment of a fundamentalist jihadi group known as Ansar al-Sunna. 

Horrific accounts have emerged in the past days telling of children, as young as 11, being attacked and beheaded by the militants who have reportedly evolved from a radical Muslim sect and have links throughout east Africa. 

According to humanitarian watchdogs and aid agencies cases of cholera and malaria are increasing among the more than 650 thousand displaced persons fleeing the armed attacks in the region. Camps have been abandoned and the drought makes the situation even more difficult.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that there are about 950,000 people "facing severe hunger" in northern Mozambique, a quarter of whom are children.

Appeals

Mozambique’s Bishop João Carlos has appealed to the people of the southern African nation and to the international community to stand in solidarity with Cabo Delgado’s suffering population.


He is also calling for more awareness about the situation.

In December, Pope Francis conveyed his closeness to the people of Cabo Delgado as reports emerged of hundreds of thousands of people forced to flee their homes due to violence.

According to recent statistics, some 670,000 people are now displaced inside Mozambique due to the conflict in Cabo Delgado. That’s almost seven times the number reported a year ago, pointing to a situation that has seriously deteriorated over the past 12 months, with the escalation of attacks on villages.

Climatic shocks

Cabo Delgado is also still reeling from consecutive climatic shocks, including 2019’s Cyclone Kenneth, the strongest cyclone ever to hit the northern part of Mozambique, and massive floods in early 2020.

20 March 2021, 14:09