Between December 22, 2023, and March 3, 2024, non-state armed groups carried out random attacks in various towns in Mozambique including Ibo, Macomia, Chiure, Mecufi, Mocimboa da Praia, and Muidumbe. These attacks caused fear among the residents and led to thousands of people being displaced.

By Staff Reporter

In just two months, more than 61,000 children have fled from a recent escalation of conflict in the Cabo Delgado provinces of Mozambique. This represents the most major displacement of minors in a short timeframe, according to reports from Save the Children.

Numerous instances of violent clashes between armed groups and security forces were documented in various districts in the northern province, including Macomia, Chiure, Mecufi, Metuge, Mocímboa da Praia, Quissanga, Muidumbe, and Ibo. This renewed violence has led to over 99,313 individuals, including more than 61,492 children, being displaced from their homes between December 22 and March 3.

“Now in its seventh year with no immediate end in sight, the conflict in Cabo Delgado has taken a devastating human toll. There are repeated reports of beheadings and abductions, including multiple child victims. The conflict has already left 540,000 people displaced with more than half of them children.

“The spike in attacks comes after a mildly calmer period with attacks concentrated in some locations in the northern part of the province. In the past year, about 600,000 people returned gradually to their districts of origin in an attempt to resume normal life.  However, some smaller-scale displacements continued to occur due to attacks in some of the returnee districts,” said Save the Children.

Recent events in the Chiúre province have caused substantial destruction in the areas of Mazeze and Ocua, which were once seen as safe places for displaced people. The destruction includes the burning of homes, markets, a health centre, and a place of worship. This damage to both civilian and public structures could, according to Save the Children, undo the progress made in resettling families and children back to their homes and schools.

The organisation has called for urgent action to protect children, stating that this wave of violence is a renewed attack on education. More than 100 schools have been closed across six districts in Cabo Delgado, affecting nearly 71,000 children. Additionally, another 17 schools in Nampula have been shut down due to the violence.

“There are children who are seven years old now, longing to go to school for the first time this year but are now fleeing for their lives. These children have never known life without war and sadly belong to a growing generation of children whose childhood has become elusive.

“The recent spate of conflict and attacks represents a major setback in efforts to rebuild the lives of children and families in Cabo Delgado. We are calling for an immediate end to this conflict so children can live a peaceful life and go back to school,” said Brechtje van Lith, Save the Children’s Country Director in Mozambique.

The organisation and its partners are working diligently to reintegrate children into schools in host communities, making sure that students and teachers have the necessary school materials. In areas where schools have been destroyed, tents have been set up as temporary learning spaces.

Additionally, the organisation is providing crucial psychosocial support services to both children and their caregivers, and working to identify unaccompanied and separated children for family tracing and reunification. Despite these efforts, accessing adequate funding remains a critical challenge for the organisation and other responders in Cabo Delgado to meet ongoing humanitarian needs.

Save the Children, a significant aid provider in the Cabo Delgado crisis, assisted a total of 381,773 individuals in 2023, with a focus on nearly 259,676 children. Its operations were carried out in multiple districts including Pemba, Metuge, Chiure, Montepuez, Mueda, Palma, Macomia, Quissanga, and Mocímboa da Praia.

They provided essential support to internally displaced persons, host communities, and families through various programs including child protection, education, healthcare, nutrition, livelihoods, water, sanitation, and hygiene initiatives, as well as humanitarian and peace-building efforts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *