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UN urges protection of civillians in Northern Mozambique

Civilians sitting under tents.   -  
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The United Nations has called for urgent measures to protect civilians in northeastern Mozambique, who have fallen victim to an Islamist rebellion.

The jihadists attacked villages and killed several people in the Cabo Delgado province this week.

Rupert Colville is spokesman for the UN Human rights High Commissioner. He says the situation is now desperate.

"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 who remain have been left deprived of basic necessities and are at risk of being killed, sexually assaulted, abused, kidnapped, or forcibly recruited by armed groups", Colville said.

The killing of civilians and clashes with security forces in various parts of Cabo Delgado province, have increased in recent weeks.

The UN sees the human rights situation "increasingly alarming".

Dozens of people are reported to have died and hundreds forced to flee their homes, the High Commissioner's office said.

According to the United Nations, over 350,000 people have been displaced due to violence in the region in the last three years.

It also said since October 16, more than 14,000 people have fled by sea. At least one boat has capsized, which is estimated to have killed about 40 people, including children. The Office of the High Commissioner fears that thousands more people are trapped in the conflict zones, many hiding for days.

The UN is also calling on Mozambican authorities to throw light on accusations of human rights violations against their security forces in recent years, including extrajudicial executions and ill-treatment.

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