Northern Mozambique Renewed Attacks Causing “massive displacement”: Catholic Peace Entity

A village in Mozambique. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The leadership of the peace entity of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) has said that renewed attacks in Mozambique's Cabo Delgado Province is causing “massive displacement” of populations.

In an interview with ACI Africa, the Director of the Dennis Hurley Peace Institute (DHPI) said that insurgencies are now spreading Southwards and Westwards. 

“Renewed attacks in areas that were considered safe and stabilized are escalating, are increasing and are leading to massive displacement,” Johan Viljoen said during the Monday, August 1 interview.

Mr. Viljoen said that on July 25, the SACBC Peace Institute received reports of "renewed attacks on villages in the outskirts of Mocimboa da Praia, the first place that was attacked by the insurgents in 2017."

“According to our sources on the ground, these insurgents’ groups are made up of ten to 12 people; they attack and simply disappear into the bush, making it very difficult to track them down," Mr. Viljoen said.


He added, "Several people have fled and the majority of them are women and children. The situation is dire.”

Mr. Viljoen went on to highlight the influx of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) into neighboring provinces as a “huge humanitarian disaster”.

The disaster, the Director of the peace entity of SACBC Bishops said, is because “there is no provision in place to provide humanitarian assistance.”

“In Pemba, authorities have requested the support of the humanitarian community to relocate approx. 2,000 IDPs to new resettlement sites in Ancuabe, due to concern of overcrowding conditions in Pemba”, he said.

Between June 2-24, approximately 24,113 individual movements to Nampula Province were triggered by attacks or fear of attacks in Cabo Delgado’s Ancuabe and Chiure Districts, Mr. Viljoen said.  

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The UN Reliefweb has estimated that12,032 individuals (2,808 Households), are currently hosted across communities of Erati District of Nampula Province in North-eastern Mozambique. 

In their report, UN officials say at least 1.5 million people in Northern Mozambique need lifesaving and life-sustaining humanitarian assistance and protection in 2022 because of the continued impact of armed conflict, violence and insecurity in Cabo Delgado Province.

At the moment, the UN officials say, “Humanitarian needs are concentrated in the districts hardest hit by the conflict — Macomia, Mocimboa da Praia, Palma and Quissanga — as well as those that host the highest number of displaced people, namely Metuge, Montepuez, Mueda, Nangade and Pemba.”

The International Organization for Migration Displacement Tracking Matrix IOM/DTM approximates that at least 69,031 people have been displaced for the first time. 

"Out of the total displaced, some 23,774 people were also displaced to Nampula province as result of the attacks," says IOM/DTM. 


In a July 27 country report on the situation in the north of Mozambique, the DHPI officials say, "Humanitarian partners are currently preparing to respond to a potential caseload of 50,000 people that may require a multi-sectoral life-saving response through a combination of immediate response and medium- to longer-term response, including both direct assistance to displaced people and support to host communities impacted by the rising number of people they are hosting.”

In the August 1 interview, Mr. Viljoen told ACI Africa that “due to the current influx of IDPs across Cabo Delgado province, the Government and site service providers have planned to upgrade five sites as transit centers with a capacity of 7,000 people.”

“An estimated 33 per cent of the newly arrived population requires shelter assistance, 23 per cent requires food assistance, 13 per cent requires access to water, and the remaining 31 per cent requires access to other needs like latrines and hygiene kits”, Mr. Viljoen told ACI Africa August 1.

Sheila Pires is a veteran radio and television Mozambican journalist based in South Africa. She studied communications at the University of South Africa. She is passionate about writing on the works of the Church through Catholic journalism.