The violent insurgency that has been going on in Mozambique’s Province of Cabo Delgado since 2017 has negatively affected the lives of over 600,000 people, with more than 200,000 displaced across the region, according to UN Reliefweb.
“The most recent massacres by the group calling itself ‘Islamic State in Central Africa’ (ISCA) are just now coming to light: last Sunday these alleged jihadists are reported by local sources to have attacked the small town of Muidumbe and beheaded and dismembered the bodies of dozens of people in a local football stadium,” ACN officials say in the report.
They add, “Reports have also come through of the massacre of over 15 children and young people, along with their adult ‘tutors’, who were preparing them to take part in the traditional initiation rites of the Makonde tribe.”
The United Nations has called on Mozambique to investigate the reports of massacres and the beheading of women and children in the region.
On November 9, the leadership of the National Community Radio Forum (FORCOM) in Mozambique expressed concerns about the welfare of a group of Catholic journalists engaged by São Francisco de Assis Community Radio in the Province of Cabo Delgado who have been hiding in bushes after insurgents raided their radio station.
Reflecting on the violence in the Cabo Delgado province, a nun serving in Mozambique’s Pemba Diocese, Sr. Blanca Nubia Zapata told ACN, “It seems as though they are trying to evict the entire population of the Northern part of Cabo Delgado province, expelling the ordinary people without the slightest vestige of compassion.”
“Over 12,000 people have arrived here in the past two weeks. We can’t keep up. Women and children are arriving, and older people who have been walking for days,” Sr Blanca says in the report shared with ACI Africa, adding that “some have died on the way, on the roads and the forest tracks.”
She further explains, “It’s 180 km (115 miles), but you can’t imagine what our ‘roads’ are like; it’s terribly difficult walking along these tracks, and across the countryside, three or four days on end without food, without water, carrying their children on their backs… There are women who have given birth on the road.”
Faced with these challenges, Sr. Blanca, a member of the Theresian Carmelites of Saint Joseph says, “We are doing all we can. Very often we can do no more than listen, ask how they are feeling and listen to them. They’ve left everything behind, hoping to escape with their lives.”
“All they want to do is to get away from there; they are simply terrified. Many of the families have asked for our help, and we have rescued the families of the children at the school, with immense difficulty, with private vehicles and the help of third parties”, Sr. Blanca explained.