Northern Mozambique: escalating violence and mass migration

Two street vendors in Maputo, Mozambique Two street vendors in Maputo, Mozambique Farah Nabil/

16 July 2021

Mass displacement of civilians from the northern part of Mozambique due to increasing violence causing food insecurity.

Violence is rapidly increasing in the northern part of Mozambique, Cabo Delgado. Non-state armed group, locally known as al-Shabab, is capturing towns and taking control of main highways, torturing and beheading civilians on the way. This has caused a mass displacement of civilians and left them highly food insecure. The violence has driven almost 800,000 people away from their homes. 

The armed group was neglected as small bandits by the government initially. This group suspected to have links with ISIL started its operation in October of 2017 and has exponentially increased the frequency and intensity of attacks in Cabo Delgado in recent months. The intention of the militia is not clear, but they have attracted the people who were dissatisfied with the monopoly of local elites and international corporations over the rich gas fields and ruby deposits.

Besides the displacement of more than half a million people, it has also caused acute malnutrition to 75,000 children under five years of age, according to IPC data. The number of food-insecure people is expected to increase from 228,000 to 363,000 during the fry season. David Beasley, the Executive Director of the World Food Program, said that “The conflict has destroyed people’s jobs, lives and hopes for the future. Insurgents have ripped families apart, burning their homes, traumatizing children, and killing people.” The WFP, which has been providing the migrants with food, has warned about the risk of having to cut back on the food supplies if it does not urgently get the financial assistance of $121 million.

Furthermore, the living condition of the displaced people is dire. They have taken shelter in host families or temporary camps in the neighbouring provinces. Some of the hosts have been accommodating more than a dozen people in their homes, most of whom are strangers. To tackle the increasing violence, the South African Development Community (SADC) has decided to send troops to Mozambique. This 16-member association approved to support the country to counter terrorism in the north but did not reveal how and when it will be done. No details regarding the number of troops to be deployed, when they will be sent, or in what capacity they will work were provided.


To know more, please read:


Author: Pasquale Candela; Editor: Shrabya Ghimire

Read 234 times