New Outbreak of Unrest in Mozambique Displaces Thousands

Thu Feb 22 2024
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MAPUTO, Mozambique: Fresh violence has erupted in northern Mozambique, the scene of jihadist insurgencies, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes, according to UN figures and sources in Cabo Delgado province.

Recent attacks in Makumia, Kiure and Makofi districts have forced 13,088 people, mostly children, to flee by bus, canoe or on foot, according to a warning by the UN migration agency, IOM.

Mozambican President Felipe Nyusi acknowledged that new population movements had taken place, but downplayed the threat and insisted that security forces had the situation under control.

“There are a significant number of people who move from one area to another and complain about support,” he said as he met with military commanders.

“Terrorists try to recruit in this province, which is why we see these movements,” he added.

He said the recent exodus of people from Okoa town was the result of retaliatory attacks by the Mozambican and Rwandan armies after thwarting an attempt to abduct the children.

Rwandan and Southern African Development Community (SADC) troops were deployed to Mozambique in July 2021 after years of jihadist attacks.

Although they helped regain lost territory in Cabo Delgado, unrest continues.

Post-crisis researcher Tobias Miguel said displaced people appeared to be fleeing to the northern city of Pemba or across the province to neighboring Nampula.

Nampula Provincial Minister of Foreign Affairs Jamie Neto confirmed that the National Disaster Management Institute plans to open a transit center to accommodate evacuees.

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