Maputo, Mozambique – The camera shows a crowd before three women quickly zoom in on their faces. They are all crying.
Throwing microphones into their faces, reporters have tried to make some comments, but uninterrupted women are less inconsistent, their incoherent accents filled with long screams.
They are among thousands of people fleeing a devastating attack last week in the town of Bam Palma, as they arrived in Pemba, the capital of Cabo Delgado in the Mozambican province. The path of death and destruction On his eve.
The government has confirmed the deaths of dozens of people, including Mozambicans and foreigners. Something went wrong. Vehicles were also burned, state buildings were destroyed and food items were looted. No exact figures have been released, including information on how many members of the government security forces or fighters were killed.
Since they shot the group in Mokimbo da Priya in October 2017 for the first time Locally known as Al-Shabab Cabo has killed, destroyed and plundered several northern towns and villages in Delgado.
It seems that Mokimbo da Priya has a great symbolic value for the fighters associated with ISIL: they returned in August 2020 and handed over control of the city to the government forces, which it has retained to this day.
While the fighters were attacking through Palmar, the uninitiated fled their homes and quickly filled the area with internally displaced people who had fled the haunted city. More than 2,500 people have been killed, including nearly 700,000 people forced out of their homes in three years of conflict.
Most of those fleeing Palma – home to about 110,000 people, including 40,000 internally displaced people – who fled the attack elsewhere – sailed south on the Pembra in passenger ships, cars and on foot. A team arrived on Thursday aboard a ship carrying about 1,200 people, including 300 children and 400 women.
According to the World Food Program (WFP), more than 3,300 people have fled to the districts of Nangade, Mueda, Montepuez and Pemba, although it is estimated that thousands are still on their way.
Just a few kilometers from the gates of the Afungi Peninsula, Africa’s largest liquefied natural gas construction site, Palma is home to a population of about 50,000-strong population, where the French power giant Total has undertaken a ২০ 20 billion project.
There are still many questions surrounding the real cause of the violence, although competitive theories are being developed.
Poverty and lack of jobs are thought to have played a significant role in the growing social grievances in a gas-rich region that is also known for wood and rubber. In addition to drug trafficking and conflict among the local elite, the growing extremism of the youth has also been cited.
As the number of internally displaced people increased, humanitarian workers warned of the dire situation and began to affect the neighboring provinces of Cabo Delgado. Some moved west to the neighboring province of Nisa, while others headed south to Nampula.
“This is a very serious situation,” said Lola Castro, South Africa’s regional director for the WFP. “We are already talking about desperate people who have not been able to plan for three years in a row, others who have recently been displaced, who have no food, water, shelter or anything. A huge human tragedy is looming in front of us. ”
The fleeing people also have an additional burden; Not everyone in the family manages to escape, leaving behind many who were considered the worst for their loved ones.
For now, however, the priority is to feed, clothe and shelter the fleeing people. When they arrived at the shelter, they may have traveled days without food and water. Those who hide it in the bushes by the road, drink the water of the river and survive in the shaking for food, on the other hand people who go by boat can go for a few days without food or water.
And as they move into the shelter, they have the potential to raise humanitarian bills. “We don’t have enough resources to support the scale-up we need,” Castro said, adding that the WFP alone needed 10 10.5 million a month to provide assistance to internally displaced people and called for funding to meet their basic needs.
In the capital, Mozambique, citizens have launched a campaign to raise money to help their compatriots.
Failure to secure funds will create a major challenge for humanitarian activities. It is estimated that about 950,000 people in Cabo Delgado and surrounding Nampula and Niasa are food insecure.
Meanwhile, foreign agencies and countries have offered to assist the Mozambican government in the fight against armed groups.
So far, the government has focused mainly on military assistance. The United States has sent special operations forces to train Mozambican troops, while the former colonial power Portugal will deploy 600 military specialists for training.
Nevertheless, what is most needed now is for the government to come up with a comprehensive plan to address the crisis, taking into account humanitarian assistance, local development, job creation and other issues.
If it doesn’t, images like crying women will only increase in frequency.