Cabo Delgado, Mozambique’s most northern region, is a dangerous place to be. Armed groups have led a campaign of violence that includes torching villages, beheading people – including children – and kidnapping. More than 3,000 people have been killed and 800,000 people have been forced to flee their homes – many escaping with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Here is an update on the crisis and how you can pray.
Since 2017, al-Shabaab, an armed group that has ties to the Islamic State, has been carrying out attacks in Cabo Delgado. At the end of last year, however, the violence escalated dramatically, leading to hundreds of thousands of people fleeing.
Al-Shabaab captured the strategic port town of Palma. This led to a siege in which many were killed or injured. Some fled across the border to Tanzania, but many are now living in temporary camps in Mozambique, where the facilities are basic and resources are stretched.
A life’s work destroyed
‘I was okay as l had spent the greater part of my life sowing fields so that I would have something in my old age, and now, this,’ shares 65-year-old Misheck*, who fled the violence with his family. As well as losing his home, Misheck lost his plantation of 300 palm trees when his village was attacked.
‘First they harvested whatever they could carry and then, when they were satisfied with their loot, they then burnt the field. I have not been able to go back to assess the damage and l don't even know if I will be able to go back,’ he says.
Coconut palm trees produce their first fruit in six to ten years, taking 15 to 20 years to reach peak production. Years of hard work by Misheck had been destroyed.
‘Tell me, at this age how am I supposed to start again in this camp? Years and years of sacrifice gone – just like that.’