UN expresses concern over escalating violence in Mozambique

United Nations
United Nations

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has expressed concern regarding reports of escalating violence in northern Mozambique, where police say Islamist militants beheaded more than 50 people in recent days.

Michelle Bachelet said “the situation is desperate both for those trapped in conflict-affected areas, with barely any means of surviving, and for those displaced across the province and beyond.

“Those that remained have been left deprived of basic necessities and are at risk of being killed, sexually abused, kidnapped, or forcibly recruited by armed groups. Those that flee may die trying.

Security forces in gas-rich Cabo Delgado province have been fighting Islamist militants since 2017, in an insurgency that has displaced thousands of people. The local militant group pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in 2019.

More than 350,000 people have been displaced by violence in the last three years, according to the UN.

In the past month alone, more than 14,000 people have fled by sea and arrived in the provincial capital, Pemba. Some 40 people died fleeing recently when their boat capsized.

Bachelet also expressed concern the mass migration could contribute to the spread of the coronavirus.

Separately, spokesperson for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Babar Baloch told a press briefing in Geneva that the organisation was concerned about “horrifying reports of extreme brutality” in Cabo Delgado.

Meanwhile analysts have questioned how serious the Islamic State link is, saying that the roots of the unrest may owe more to poverty and inequality than religion.

There have also been reports of human rights violations committed by Mozambican security forces in the region, including extrajudicial killings. (dpa/NAN)

– Nov. 14, 2020 @ 9:55 GMT |

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