New upsurge in Mozambique violence displaces thousands

MAPUTO   -   A new outbreak of unrest in northern Mozambique, scene of a jihadist insurgen­cy, has forced thousands to flee their homes, according to UN figures and sources in Cabo Delgado province. An alert from the UN migra­tion agency IOM said recent attacks in the Macomia, Chi­ure and Mecufi districts had displaced 13,088 people -- most of them children -- by bus, canoe and on foot. Mo­zambique’s President Filipe Nyusi confirmed there had been new population move­ments, but played down the threat and insisted 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, after a meeting with military commanders. “Ter­rorists try to recruit in this province, which is why we see these movements,” he said. A recent flight of peo­ple from the town of Ocua, he said, was a result of re­venge attacks after Mozam­bican and Rwandan forces had thwarted an attempt to kidnap children. “The last month recorded significant movements by non-state armed groups towards the southern districts of Cabo Delgado” a spokesperson from the UN’s refugee agen­cy, UNHRC, told AFP. “This wave of attacks has essen­tially been characterised by a high level of destruction, namely residences, church­es and social infrastructures as schools and health cen­tres”. Forces from Rwan­da and countries of the Southern African Develop­ment Community (SADC), deployed to Mozambique in July 2021 after years of jihadist attacks. They have helped the country retake lost territory in Cabo Del­gado, but unrest continues.

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