General, News

Mozambique: UNHCR warns of severity of new attacks

By Johan Viljoen, Reabetswe Tloubatla, Jeanette Lesisa: Dennis Hurley Peace Institute, Pretoria-South Africa.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) warned in a statement of the seriousness of the new attacks in Cabo Delgado. Violence has caused 36,000 displaced people in districts so far considered safe. One of the most recent attacks “occurred 35 kilometers from Pemba, the capital of the Mozambican province. “The UNHCR is especially concerned about the safety and well-being of the most vulnerable among the displaced, including women and children,” the document made public on Thursday (07.07), adding that armed groups attacked near roads “regularly used by humanitarian organizations, including the UNHCR, for missions to Ancuabe, Chiúre and Montepuez.”

Some 36,000 people have already been displaced by the June attacks in Cabo Delgado and an unconfirmed number of people have been killed, “including some by beheading,” as well as “several burned houses and looted property, creating panic in Ancuabe and neighboring districts.” The newly displaced “need assistance to save their lives, including access to food, shelter and basic services” that continue to lack to help everyone. Transport rates have “increased significantly due to increasing demand” and most people “continue to travel on foot and are exposed to protective risks,” particularly young women.” Due to the volatile security situation,” the UNHCR considers it “premature” to promote the return of the population to affected districts, as state officials have done. “THE UNHCR stresses the importance of ensuring that returns are safe, voluntary and based on informed decisions and that basic services are restored in the areas of origin,” he concluded.