September 20, 2020

Investigation: The rising number of Mozambique’s internally displaced people (2/2)

The number of internally displaced people has doubled in the past five months in Cabo Delgado, a province in northern Mozambique. Thousands of people have fled a violent insurrection by a group of Islamist militants with ties to the Islamic State (IS) group and are now living in overcrowded camps or the homes of friends or relatives. Humanitarian organizations on the ground are calling for more assistance.

Since October 2017, a group of armed Islamist militants– known locally as Al Shabaab, though they have no ties to the better-known Somali group– have been carrying out a series of violent attacks on the resource-rich province of Cabo Delgado. In the past three years, more than 1,400 people have been killed in these attacks, according to the NGO The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (Acled), which is working to document the situation in the province.

>> READ ON THE OBSERVERS : Thousands flee Islamist insurgents in North Mozambique (1/2)

250,000 internally displaced people in Cabo Delgado

The attacks have intensified this year. Between March and June, insurgents seized numerous villages as well as the local capitals in the districts of Mocimboa da Praia, Quissanga, Muidumbe and Macomia. Photos posted online show charred ruins of homes and buildings and abandoned government buildings. Thousands of people have fled, by land and sea.

In July, there were 250,000 internally displaced people in Cabo Delgado, double the number in March, according to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha). That represents close to 10 percent of the population of this province, which is home to 2.3 million people. Many of the displaced people fled to the coastal city of Pemba, which is the capital of Cabo Delgado. Many are staying with friends or family but their living conditions are precarious and they lack food.

The UN World Food Program (WFP) is currently trying to come up with a strategy to help the rising number of displaced persons. They hope to provide assistance to nearly 200,000 people in August. By September, they hope to establish a system of vouchers that can be redeemed in local shops.

The WFP says in this tweet that they helped 112,728 internally displaced persons in Cabo Delgado in June and an additional 8,030 people in Nampula.