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Deadly attack on Mozambique's Cabo Delgado leaves indigenes devastated

People fleeing fighting between insurgents and government forces in the Mozambican town of Palma arrive in Pemba on Thursday April 1, 2021.   -  
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Dave LePoidevin/Dave LePoidevin, MAF -


Devastation and pain left behind in Mozambique after the deadly attack in the province of Cabo Delgado on March 24.

In Pemba, the port city of Cabo Delgado, the wait is coming to an end for some, as they are reunited with their relatives.

But the situation is far from calm in the town of Palma, and other areas, where locals are fleeing.

"Our humanitarian colleagues there tell us that the escalation of violence in Cabo Delgado province continues to drive massive displacement, following the recent attacks by non-state armed groups and ongoing clashes reported in Palma since March 24. The security situation remains volatile and is of concern to all of us. The UN Migration Agency has already registered about 8000 people at arrival points in Nangade, Mueda, Montpeuze as well as Pemba. (...) We have information that hundreds of people still trying to leave Palma right now, and thousands are making their way up by foot boat and road, some are being rescued by the UN's Humanitarian Air Services, and other civil society groups", said Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General.

The humanitarian situation of the displaced is increasingly complex, and people here have lost everything, or almost everything. Humanitarian organizations were not prepared for this. Essential goods are scarce and many are traumatized.

"I am a volunteer activist. Last night we tried to arrange dinner for them, bread with butter and juice and water, it's the least we can do for them. It is a very complicated operation. People are very tired, dehydrated and very traumatised, you can see it in their faces. When they are here they even feel a bit lost'', said volunteer activist, Gafuro Manana.

In Palma, conflict persists between an extremist group, government forces, and, it is said, private military and mercenary groups.

On Wednesday, the Mozambican army launched an offensive to try to retake the town of Palma from rebels.

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