UNHCR is alarmed as attacks increase in northern Mozambique

A family of IDPs in Montepuez  A family of IDPs in Montepuez UNHCR/Deiliany Souza

18 September 2020

In Cabo Delgado (northern Mozambique) violence by armed groups has forced more than 250,000 people to leave their houses since 2017

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) expressed deep concern towards the frequent, violent attacks perpetrated by armed groups in the province of Cabo Delgado, in northern Mozambique. In the past months, resource-rich northern Mozambique has experienced social and economic tensions, with dramatic consequences for the population. Recently, an armed group known as Al-Shabaab has been attacking local villagers and members of security forces. According to Amnesty International, in recent months the armed group has committed serious human rights abuses, including the beheading of civilians. 

Violence and abuses forced local people to abandon their houses, drastically increasing the number of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) who are relying completely on the generosity of the local communities who have been hosting them. However, accommodation is insufficient considering the large number of IDPs asking for a shelter, with at times 20 or 30 people living under the same roof. 

The province of Cabo Delgado is still recovering from the impact of recent natural disasters – as the heavy rains of last winter or Cyclone Kenneth, which hit the region in April destroying several infrastructures and houses. Moreover, the pandemic of Covid-19 has been undermining the delivery of humanitarian assistance. Even though the UNHCR has been providing basic assistance to the displaced people together with partner agencies, further efforts are urgent and necessary. 


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Author: Margherita Curti; Editor: Matteo Consiglio

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