Statement on the Beheading of Two Children in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (June 18, 2021) — Save the Children is shocked and appalled at the reported beheading of two boys, both aged 15, on Sunday June 13, in Palma, in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado.

The boys were killed along with two adults, according to a report in Thursday’s issue of the independent newssheet “Carta de Mocambique.” According to the paper’s sources, the children were part of a group of 15 people who had set out from the resettlement town of Quitunda, about nine miles from Palma, in search of food.

Save the Children’s Country Director in Mozambique, Chance Briggs, said:

“We are appalled and disgusted at this senseless crime. Children should never be a target in conflict. These were two teenagers with their lives ahead of them, and yet they were killed while trying to meet their most basic of needs, seeking food. Our hearts go out to their family and friends as they mourn this loss.”

“Again, we are reminded, in the most brutal fashion, that the conflict in Cabo Delgado is a war on children. It’s having a continual, horrific, deadly impact on children. Grave violations are being committed against them – they are being killed, abducted, and recruited for use by armed groups. The perpetrators of this violence must be held to account.

“Already, at least 364,000 children have been forced to flee their homes and are now seeking shelter in displacement camps or crowded homes in the southern part of the region. These kids lack access to healthcare and clean water, making them more exposed to killer diseases such as cholera and malaria.

“The world needs to step up and help the children of Cabo Delgado. We call on the donor community to ensure that funding for children’s needs is prioritized. Funds are urgently needed for protection, health, education, and mental health.

“All parties to this conflict must ensure that children are never targets. They must do their utmost to minimize civilian harm, including ending indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks against children. Greater monitoring of these violations must take place, including through the Office of the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children in Armed Conflict mechanism so that the perpetrators of violence against children can be held to account.” 

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