Nearly a million people are facing severe famine in northern Mozambique, where an increasingly worsening conflict has left hundreds of thousands of people displaced, the United Nations agency warned.
Fighters linked to ISIL last month attacked PalmaA town in the gas-rich province of Cabo Delgado, scatters its residents in all directions in a desperate attempt to get to safety. This is the latest attack by an armed group called al-Shabab that has been plundering towns and villages since 2017.
On Tuesday, the World Food Program (WFP) said during a press conference in Geneva that 950,000 people are currently starving in Mozambique.
“Families and individuals had to give up their belongings and livelihoods and run away to be safe … adding to the already desperate situation in northern Mozambique,” said Tomson Phiri, WFP spokesman. , ”Said Tomson Phiri, WFP spokesman.
A heavily pregnant woman fled with her baby after her husband was murdered in front of her, according to aid organizations. A teenager witnessed his mother being murdered in a field. Rape and kidnapping are also reported.
“We had to run away in the night and hide in the bush for two days with nothing, nothing,” Halima Adhu Jose told Last week, Al Jazeera was from Pemba, the capital of the province further south in Palma, where thousands of evacuees flocked.
“We tried to get to the boats, but now we can’t have enough to eat. My children are hungry and I have nothing to give, ”said the 32-year-old man, a grocer in Palma, said. “I don’t know how long we can go on living with nothing.”
The WFP called on donors $ 82 million in response to the crisis, a day after Mozambique’s National Institute for Disaster Risk Management and Mitigation said it also needed seven billion milais ($ 126 million). la) to help people fleeing violence in Cabo Delgado, according to Portuguese state news agency Lusa.
The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) says it currently cares for more than 200 children who have been displaced without finding their parents.
Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF’s Emergency Director, said during a similar meeting in Geneva: “We are facing a humanitarian crisis that can last.
About 690,000 people were displaced across the country in February. Another 16,500 were registered in other areas of Cabo Delgado after fleeing the attack in Palma, according to the International Organization for Migration.
The UN’s humanitarian coordination agency, OCHA, said on Monday that tens of thousands more were still displaced in Palma district or on the move.
Many ran to a nearby village called Quitunda, built by French energy giant Total as a shelter for people displaced by the next $ 20 billion gas project. Palma.
A witness told Reuters news agency that people there have very little food, are not protected and gather hundreds of people at Total’s site every day.
Total withdrew its staff from the site due to nearby activity on April 2, while WFP also halted evacuation flights it was operating on. The company also suspended related activities at Pemba, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
Authorities are still working to identify 12 beheaded bodies found in Palma after the attack, which police and military officials say are foreigners.
Al-Shabab’s attacks, which originated, according to analysts, were caused by local political, religious and economic discontent, which has steadily increased in Cabo Delgado since October 2017. .
The elite Attacks have also increased.
Fighters ransacked towns and took control of important routes. They kidnapped young women and children and beheaded civilians. They destroyed the infrastructure and even extended their operations north to neighboring Tanzania. And since August 2020, they have taken control of Mozambique’s important port town of Mocimboa da Praia.
In early March, Amnesty International accused both Mozambique’s militants and security forces, as well as a private South African military company hired by the government, of war crimes against civilians, including unlawful executions and torture.