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Violence Hits Previously Safe District in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, Forcing Nearly 10,000 People to Flee

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (June 14, 2022) — A new wave of violence has uprooted thousands of people in Cabo Delgado province in northern Mozambique, with violent attacks hitting Ancuabe district between 2 and 9 June. The incidents triggered the displacement of nearly 10,000 people, and it is estimated that at least four people were beheaded in the attacks, the first of their kind in this district. 

Ancuabe had previously been considered safe from violence and is hosting substantial numbers of families who have already been displaced from other districts. In addition, Ancuabe is less than 2 hours drive from Pemba city, one of the region's hubs. 

Displaced people were witnesses to killings, beheadings, rape, houses being burned, and abductions, and reported the kidnapping of several boys. Women and children comprise 85 percent of those forced from their homes or shelters and include pregnant women and unaccompanied and separated children.

Many of the 10,000 people displaced in the past week were already living in camps and have now moved to emergency and communal shelters in Chiure, Metuge, and Pemba districts. Conditions are dire, and families have been left without adequate access to shelter, toilets, clothes, and food. 

The attacks have also impacted humanitarian operations supporting previously displaced families, including those by Save the Children, whose activities were interrupted by the deteriorating security situation.

The number of children displaced by the conflict in Cabo Delgado has now increased from 370,000 to over 400,00, according to the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare.

In response to the latest displacements, the Secretariat of State in Cabo Delgado has raised the possibility of reopening the Desportivo Transit Center in Pemba, which served as a reception point for displaced people during the peak of violence last year.

Save the Children's Country Director in Mozambique, Brechtje van Lith, said:

"Despite efforts to bring peace to Cabo Delgado, violence continues. This new wave of attacks and displacement is particularly concerning as it affects children who were already uprooted and are witnessing fighting for the second time. 

"The children were only just getting their lives back together, and now they are again forced to flee with just the clothes on their backs, seeking refuge with their families in transit centers in Pemba and the neighboring districts. 

"These attacks represent a major setback and have forced the humanitarian actors in the area to shift their activities to respond to the most urgent needs of children and their families in the places where they are now living."

Save the Children is a major responder to the crisis in Cabo Delgado, reaching about 302,000 people, including nearly 174,000 children in 2021. Internally displaced people, host communities, and families have been supported with life-saving and life-sustaining support, through child protection, education, health, nutrition, livelihoods, water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions, as well as humanitarian and peace-building programs. Save the Children implements in Pemba, Metuge, Chiure, Montepuez, Mueda, and Palma districts.

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