A voice from northern Mozambique

A mother and child in the bushes A mother and child in the bushes © Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

40-year-old Suabo had to flee northern Mozambique following non-state armed groups attacks that took place close to her home in Palma. These attacks had her frantically join other fleeing villagers, and in the ensuing panic and chaos, jump onto a ferry boat carrying several other people along with her daughter and niece. She recalls those minutes of pure terror claiming “From the boat, I could see armed men shooting at people. We managed to escape, but many other boats stayed captive”. The situation in northern Mozambique couldn’t be more critical.

OCHA reports the armed conflict in northern Mozambique continued to escalate in the first half of 2021, driving widespread displacement and a rapidly growing humanitarian crisis. The number of people internally displaced by the violence increased from 172,000 in April 2020 to over 732,000 people by the end of April 2021. Additionally, the attack on Palma on 24 March 2021 and following clashes across the district have forced nearly 68,000 people to flee their homes and move to safer areas.

At least 30 percent of people displaced in northern Mozambique have now had to flee multiple times, and the new wave of displacement from Palma since March has uprooted thousands of people who sought refuge in the district after being displaced from other parts of Cabo Delgado. 

The majority of the displaced families are staying with relatives and friends but for people like Suabo who have no relatives, there are transit centers set up by the government, where people receive food assistance, sleeping mats and blankets. However this doesn’t solve Suabo’s main worry: part of her family stayed behind in the rush to safety and their current state is unknown. 







Author: Benedetta Spizzichino

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