London, 29 Aug (AIM) – The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has noted the return of 420,000 internally displaced people to their areas of origin in Mozambique over recent months.
In its monthly situation report, UNHCR states that almost 900,000 people remain internally displaced due to violence by islamist terrorism and “the devastating impact of the climate crisis”.
On the climate crisis, it highlights that Mozambique is “one of the most adversely affected countries in the world” and that “the double landfall of Tropical Cyclone Freddy in February and March 2023, a year following the devastating Tropical Cyclone Gombe, affected over one million people, destroyed infrastructure, and displaced some 184,000 people”. On top of this, according to UNHCR, the country is also host to 30,000 refugees and asylum seekers.
The UN organisation has been working with partners and the Mozambican government to provide life-saving protection services and assistance to refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced people, returnees, and host communities. However, as of 20 July it had only received 19.3 million US dollars out of its annual budget for Mozambique of 47.5 million.
In terms of needs, the worst affected area is in the northern province of Cabo Delgado which has been plagued by terrorism since 2017. UNHCR notes that 834,304 people are still internally displaced in northern Mozambique, with 65 per cent of those living in host communities with the remainder living in relocation centres. Therefore, there is also a need for support for those host communities so that they do not have to bear the burden of the displacements.
There might be light at the end of the tunnel: Since the publication of the UNHCR report, the Mozambican defence and security forces, with support from Rwanda and the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), have made significant breakthroughs against the terrorists known locally as “Al-Shabaab”.
In recent days, the leader of the group, Bonomade Machude Omar, the second-in-command, Abu Kital, and a senior commander Ali Mahando, have been killed along with other senior members of the group in military operations.
On 25 August, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi pointed out that this progress is the result of the continued pursuit of extremists in the places where they are operating in small groups. However, Nyusi stressed that the death of Omar does not mean the end of the conflict, given the complexity of the terrorist phenomenon.