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Violence in Cabo Delgado Mozambique: Tearfund response

How Tearfund is responding after recent attacks by armed groups in Mozambique caused deaths and mass displacement.

Written by Tarryn Pegna | 12 Mar 2024

A makeshift tent provides some shelter for a group of young children who are getting some schooling whilst at a camp for people who have been forced to flee their homes after armed attacks in Mozambique.

Children receive some education in a resettlement centre for people displaced due to armed attacks in the northern part of Cabo Delgado province in Mozambique in 2022. Credit: Ricardo Franco/Tearfund

Since October 2017, attacks by armed groups in the Northern Province of Cabo Delgado in Mozambique have left more than 4,000 people dead and a further 1,000,000 internally displaced*.

With support from Rwanda Defence Forces and the Southern Africa Community Development Military Mission to Mozambique, the security situation improved and by December 2023, more than 540,958 people had returned to their communities.

However, a reliefweb report in January of this year pointed out that many of these people had been forced to return under adverse circumstances, and it identified extreme risks in the region – including forced recruitment of children into armed groups, as well as sexual violence against women and girls.

Recent attacks

In the last two months, the situation has deteriorated once again.

Recent attacks by non-state armed groups in Macomia, Chiure and Mecufi­ have triggered mass displacement and have been characterised by extreme violence towards civilians.

The Telegraph newspaper reported on 8 March that ‘At least 80,000 [people] have been driven from their homes, Mozambique’s army has suffered its bloodiest day in three years, a town and an island have been reported captured, and several churches burned.

‘This week it was also reported that some 70 children are feared seized, to be used as child soldiers.’

Impact on local communities

Judas Massingue, Tearfund’s Country Director in Mozambique, also spoke about the wider impact of the displacements, explaining, ‘The majority of the internally displaced people from Cabo Delgado province who fled Nampula province were accommodated in six primary schools and one secondary school. Because of this, 13,000 children from the host communities were not able to attend lessons in their classrooms.

'Many of those who were sheltering in the schools have now had to return to where they came from so that the schools can reopen for education. Some are being hosted by other communities and others are living in accommodation centres in Chiure district of Cabo Delgado province.'

‘Food assistance, clean water and sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services, shelter and protection from the risks of attacks and gender-based violence are among the most pressing needs. There are concerns that the current situation could lead to a cholera outbreak – which is still prevalent in the Northern region of Mozambique.’
Judas Massingue, Tearfund’s Country Director in Mozambique

Tearfund’s response

Tearfund and our local partner, CEDES, are planning to respond to the current situation with focus on WASH provision for displaced people.

This will involve procuring and distributing buckets (with lids), plastic mugs, water purifiers and soap for 728 families, as well as providing 1,000 dignity kits for women and girls.

We will also be working with the local church to raise awareness on the prevention of waterborne diseases, which can be fatal.

*People who have been forced to flee their homes and find safety in other places within the country are often referred to as internally displaced persons (IDPs). Refugees are those who seek safety across country borders.

Tearfund’s ability to respond when situations like this arise is only thanks to the generosity and faithfulness of our supporters. We appreciate your prayers, and if you would like to give financial support to enable us to continue to respond, please do so here.

Pray for Mozambique

    • Pray for peace to be restored in Cabo Delgado province so that people can go about their lives without fear, and children and young people can continue in their education.
    • Pray for resources to be made available to meet the most pressing humanitarian needs of those who have been internally displaced by the attacks. Ask God for comfort for those who have lost loved ones and/or witnessed the terrible violence.
    • Pray for safety for the local church and our Tearfund partners in Cabo Delgado and Nampula provinces as they work to provide immediate and lasting support for the internally displaced people and the communities who are hosting them.

Written by

Written by  Tarryn Pegna

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