“That night, our village was attacked and our homes were burned,” said a 28-year-old mother of four. “We tried to flee to the woods, but they took my eldest son and beheaded him. We couldn’t do anything because we would be killed too.”
Not safe in your village
Another mother tells a similar story: “After my 11-year-old son was killed, we realized that it was no longer safe to stay in my village. We fled to my father’s house in another village, after only a few days. The attacks started there too. My father and the children spent five days. In eating green bananas and drinking banana tree water until we got to the transportation that brought us here. “
These are just examples of the atrocities taking place in the African country. A wave of terror has erupted in Cabo Delgado province since 2017. Nearly 670,000 people have fled to Mozambique. At least 2,600 people died.
Links to IS
Who are the terrorists responsible for this? According to reporter Saskia Hotwin, you cannot talk about one group. “The locals talk about the Islamic terrorist group Al-Shabab (literally meaning“ Al-Shabab, ”liberated). But there are likely several active groups. One of these groups says it has sworn allegiance to the Islamic State. It is not clear if this is the case. Only symbolic or weapons and fighters are also provided. “
Most of the residents of Cabo Delgado province are Muslims. Terrorist groups are exploiting poverty and extreme unemployment in the region by employing youth, among other things.
Cabo Delgado is one of the most deprived regions in the country. The locals do not benefit from Mozambique’s rich gas extraction and sapphire industry. Mosques and extremist imams are also said to have played a role, but poverty in particular explains how things could have gone so wrong, Houttuin says.
Not a leader
According to Houttuin, much remains unclear about the situation. “There is no leader or front man as you see in most other terrorist movements. They do not have a statement that clearly spells out their goals. This makes the situation difficult to control.”
“They are trying to quell violence at home and abroad. The United States will send troops to train Mozambican soldiers. Portugal is doing the same and asking the European Union for help.” Mozambique was a colony of Portugal until 1975.
Horrific stories were also released at the end of 2020. More than 50 people were beheaded on a soccer field after fleeing. Their bodies were cut to pieces.
According to Chance Briggs, Director of save the ChildrenThere is an urgent need for humanitarian aid. “As the Corona pandemic engulfs the world, the conflict in Cabo Delgado has been blatantly overlooked for the past twelve months.”