Mozambique: Refugees From Cabo Delgado Barter Last Possessions In Hunt For Sanctuary

Mozambique Penniless Refugees From Cabo Delgado Flee To Pemba

Mozambique, particularly in the Cabo Delgado area experiences Islamic insurgency attacks. Al-Shabaab first launched their attacks in the Mocímboa da Praia area three years ago. And, it looks like nothing really stops the killing, looting, and beheading of civilians. Reportedly, refugees from Cabo Delgado make their way to Pemba. And, apart from a strip of beach, they have nothing.

Mozambique – Refugees in Pemba penniless on the beach

We reported that “ISIS issued a public warning to South Africa not to interfere in Mozambique. Importantly, they went on to threaten destabilization within South Africa’s borders.” Later, news came from Daily Maverick, on September 3rd, that South Africa “stands ready to assist.”  However, the country waits for a “roadmap” from Mozambique.” But a day later, Defence Web countered that in their report.

The outlet noted that defence expert Helmoed Romer Heitman suggested South Africa can’t come up with the money for Mozambique. He talked about it at a “Joint Standing Committee on Defence (JSCD) mini-symposium.” Apparently, the country works on a budget that covers the defence of the borders and “maritime zones.” But, expensive missions so far north in the region aren’t suitable due to ageing equipment and a lack of resources.

Small gains by local army don’t help Cabo Delgado refugees

AllAfrica.com reported this week, that “the Mozambican defence and security forces” claimed the deaths of “270 Islamist terrorists in the region of Awasse.” But, refugees from the northern province of Cabo Delgado, attempt desperate methods to get away. Other forces assisting in the area include the private army run by Colonel Dyck. But, no major headway brings relief to local civilians.

A new tweet from Zenaida Machado, a researcher at Human Rights Watch, and a former journalist with BBC Africa, revealed thousands of refugees on a beach at Pemba. He wrote, “Since Saturday, over 2,000 people arrived on a beach in Pemba.” He noted that they came from “villages across Cabo Delgado.”

Beach in Mozambique – all that people have

Machado noted the civilians fled after insurgents killed people, torched homes, and chased them away. Plus, “many used their own clothes to pay for the boat ride.” With no money, they restored to trade bargaining. The tweet ended with, “this beach is all they have now.” And, unless things change and SADC countries offer serious help, the situation worsens.

Foreign Policy reports that SADC countries seem “apathetic” about the conflict. On October 14, Reuters reported that Mozambique requested assistance from the EU. They responded with an offer to assist in the areas of “logistics for training and technical training.” But, the country likely won’t see any European combat troops on the ground. 

Military assistance from Portugal in Mozambique

Actually, Mozambique, formerly a colonial country ruled by Portugal, probably can’t expect any military fighters from them. The ramifications could cause all sorts of issues with other countries in the region. Certainly, the chances are that SADC would see it as undermining their authority in Africa.

In the meantime, civilian refugees mount up. Penniless, with nothing more than a patch of sand on the beach, they wait in vain for an end to the war.

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