Unprecedented violence affects Mozambique to its very core

Mozambican mother and her child at one of the affected northern villages  Mozambican mother and her child at one of the affected northern villages AFP/Getty images

11 November 2020

Communities in the northern province of Cabo Delgado are suffering from gruesome attacks conducted by armed fighters linked to IS

The Muidumbe district in Cabo Delgado is experiencing extreme violence inflicted by radical armed groups. Even though the conflict has been brewing since October 2017, the latest actions by these groups have intensified and scaled up to horrifying proportions. National authorities have stated that there is a new phase in the violence, as Islamic State (IS)-linked groups have now begun to behead innocent people. Inland villages within the district have been overrun by aggressors, making it difficult for soldiers to reclaim the territory. The United Nations chief, Antonio Guterres, expressed disbelief and utter shock regarding the situation and urged the Mozambique government to take decisive action in hope of saving lives. 

During the past three years, more than 2,283 people have been murdered by radical Islamic groups. According to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), 355,000 thousand people have also been forced to leave their homes in search of a chance to survive. These are thousands of women and children who have lost everything and are now left with  nothing but  a sense of hopelessness. To escape the conflict, they are fleeing on rafts and small boats from Cabo Delgado to Paquietequete, a densely populated beach in the Tanzanian archipelago. However, the voyage is extremely dangerous; in the past month of October,54 people have already drowned in the process.

The international community has put pressure on the Mozambican government to take more concrete actions in response to the crisis. As a result, lawmakers have decided to create a new mandate operated by the Northern Integrated Development Agency. Its goals will seek to mitigate the humanitarian crisis  once the military regains control of the region. However, so far the radicalised armed groups only seem to be getting stronger with little hope for quick resolution of the conflict. 


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Author: Sergio Gomez; Editor: Aleksandra Krol


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