Thousands flee terrorist attacks in northern Mozambique

Thousands of people have arrived at Mozambique’s northern city of Pemba after extremist attacks on two towns in the restive region.

Terrorists attacked Mocimboa da Praia and the nearby town of Quissanga last week, ransacking government buildings and hoisting their flag before retreating.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack through its Amaq news agency.

A video on social media last week showed men dressed in Mozambican army uniforms addressing Quissanga from the district governor’s residence.

The terrorist group has wreaked havoc in northern Mozambique for more than two years, killing more than 900 people, the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project says.

Esta agora! É uma que circula nas redes sociais mostrando supostos homens armados que estão desde madrugada de hoje atacando a vila de #Quissanga. Carregam bandeira do Estado Islâmico no commando distrital da polícia. #CaboDelgado #Mocambique
— Alexandre (@AllexandreMZ) March 25, 2020 

The attacks have displaced more than 200,000 people since the start of the insurgency in October 2017, local Catholic archbishop Dom Luiz Fernando said on Tuesday.

The displaced have sought refuge in Pemba, the capital of Cabo Delgado province, moving in with families and friends.

Many arrived in boats after the main bridge on the motorway connecting Pemba to the north was damaged by floods.

The government has told officials in the impoverished Pemba neighbourhood of Paquitequete, where boats dock, to record details of all the arrivals and where they will seek shelter.

“To date we have registered more than 4,000 people, mostly women and children,” a local leader told AFP.

Another leader, Fakir Rugunate, a senior official in the Cairiaco neighbourhood, said: “We have more than 100 families who have welcomed people into their homes.”

Momade Abu reached Pemba on Monday from Quissanga.

“We hope that one day the conflict will end and we can return to our fields,” Mr Abu said.

“Here we are suffering, we have nowhere to sleep and nothing to eat, but the situation is worse where came from.

“We stayed in the bush for two days until they left. We left everything behind.”