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‘Humanitarian tragedy’ happening in northern Mozambique – says UNHCR

Officials from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) have visited a camp in northern Mozambique, where internally displaced persons have been recounting horrific stories of beheadings and rape.

The officials met some of the residents of the camp which houses the estimated 670,000 internally displaced persons (IDP’s) who fled insurgent attacks.

During the visit to Cabo Delgado, the UNHCR representatives decried the slow response by the government in Maputo and the international community.

“There are tragedies of an almost unspeakable kind. I’ve been speaking to the women here who’ve agreed to speak to me and they are caring for other people’s children,” Gillian Triggs, UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection said.

“I spoke to a grandmother whose daughter was killed during the conflict and the father of the child was beheaded and the grandmother is now caring for that child,” Mr. Triggs added.

A statement by the UN body described the situation as desperate, while appealing for more resources.

In a twitter post on Monday, Mr. Triggs also said ‘’ What is happening in the north of Mozambique is a humanitarian tragedy’’.

Last year, violence escalated in the restive region, prompting a humanitarian crisis similar to what characterized the final days of Mozambique’s sixteen-year civil war that ended in 1992.

The crisis was worsened by floods and Cyclone Kenneth which struck in 2019.

Access to Cabo Delgado has been hampered by insecurity and poor transport networks.

According to Armed Conflict Location and Event, a US-based data-collecting agency, the insurgency in the Portuguese-speaking Southern African country has killed at least 2,600 people, half of them civilians.

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