Attacks in Mozambique escalate as oil companies seek help

American and French supermajors ExxonMobil and Total have asked Mozambique to send more troops to guard their operations in the Cabo Delgado province after a surge of attacks by Islamist militants, according to unconfirmed local reports.

The UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, recently confirmed that there has been a dramatic increase of brutal attacks by armed groups over the past months, with the recent weeks being the most volatile period since the incidents began in October 2017. “In total, at least 28 attacks were carried out in the province since the beginning of the year,” UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic said. The attacks have now spread across nine out of the 16 districts in Cabo Delgado and are now spreading towards the southern districts of Cabo Delgado, prompting people to flee to Pemba, the provincial capital.

“UNHCR is boosting its response in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province where recent escalation of violence forced thousands to flee for their lives. At least 100,000 people are now displaced throughout the province,” Mahecic confirmed.

Armed groups have been randomly targeting local villages and terrorizing the local population. Those fleeing speak of killings, maiming, and torture, burnt homes, destroyed crops and shops. We have reports of beheadings, kidnappings and disappearances of women and children.

In response to the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation, and at the request of the Mozambican Government to all humanitarian agencies, UNHCR is expanding its presence in the province to better respond to the growing needs of the displaced population. Many are survivors of violence and human rights violations and in urgent need of protection and psycho-social support.

 

Source: Petroleum Africa

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