AFRICA:“About 30,000 children had fled the conflict-ridden province of Cabo Delgado in Mozambique in June,” says Save the Children International (SCI). Cabo Delgado is the northernmost province of Mozambique bordering the Mtwara region in Tanzania.
Cabo Delgado has been experiencing a surge in insurgents’ attacks since Islamist militants launched an attack on October 5, 2017, leading to the death and displacement of locals in the province. The Mozambique government had shown concerted efforts to tackle the case, but it seems to be overwhelmed.
According to SCI, the statistics from the recent attack outnumbered what has been recorded in the past year.
Inger Ashing, CEO of Save the Children International, cited child marriage as one of the heartbreaking impacts of the crises in the province. “Cabo Delgado was already the worst place in Mozambique to be a child before this conflict began; now, with massive displacement and horrific abuses, things are much worse“.
Cabo Dorado became volatile in 2017 when the insurgent Islamic group, al-Shabaab took reign and started wreaking havoc in the province. The incessant invasion has led to the displacement of 784,564 people of which 370,000 were children.
Al-Shabaab’s atrocities in the region further worsen the humanitarian crisis. The group is known for its mindless macheting and abduction of children while destroying their schools to deny them education.
Transcontinental Times was informed that about 11 schools were shut down in June, forcing thousands of children to drop out of school in Mecufi, Melco, Chiara and Ancuabe.
According to the child’s rights organisation, recent attacks on the province had claimed 53 lives in townlets like Metuge, Mecufi, Melco, Nampula, Chiara and Ancuabe. In addition, the unrest had rendered 50,000 people homeless. Meanwhile, 55 per cent of the displaced persons were children, says SCI.
SCI’s Country Director, Brechtje Van Lith, in a statement, decried the non-stop crisis in the region, saying children seek refuge in other safer places because their homes are no longer safe.
Lith went on record saying, “This has been the worst month for families and children in Cabo Delgado in a year. Those fleeing the violence are running out of options for safe shelters. And yet this is not the first time they are going through this – many are experiencing violence for the umpteenth time with no end in sight.
“We are extremely worried about the long-term mental health implications of this situation on children, and how the continual movement is harming the mental health of their parents as well. We have to remember that many of them have lost loved ones or witnessed horrors that no child or adult should ever need to see.
“We are providing the support we can but with the situation rapidly evolving, needs are growing, humanitarian aid is minimal at best and we fear many children are going without essential services.”