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worrying humanitarian situation in Cabo Delgado due to terrorism

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                The situation in Cabo Delgado, on Mozambique's border with Tanzania, is still very unstable.  The area has been plagued by violence since 2017, led by the “Ansar al-Sunna” group.  New attacks occurred in the middle of the week around the city of Palma, very close to the facilities of an oil mega-project.

                                    <p><em>With our regional correspondent,</em> <strong>Claire Bargelès</strong>

According to Mozambique’s defense ministry, the army is now hunting down attackers to regain control of the city of Palma and restore security.

It must be said that Palma’s stake is strategic, since this same area is the site of a huge gas project, which represents nearly 50 billion euros in investments. The attack was also launched the same day the French group Total, the main operator of the project, announced want to resume activities in the area, after being reassured by the security measures developed with the government.

Because of these economic interests, the conflict now takes an international turn. The United States will train the Mozambican military for two months, and France and Portugal have also offered their support. So far, international private security firms acting alongside the government have failed to get the situation under control.

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Also to listen: Guest Africa – Mozambique: “The military route will not bring us a solution”

Catastrophic humanitarian consequences

Moreover, since the security situation is not under control, this has important consequences at the humanitarian level. This Palma attack once again pushed many residents to flee, caught in the crossfire: terrorist acts on the one hand, and the violent response of security forces and mercenaries. Since 2017, Cabo Delgado has already counted more than 2,600 dead, and 670,000 displaced, many of whom have taken refuge in the town of Pemba, a little further south.

The area is difficult to access for humanitarian workers and living conditions in makeshift camps worry the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) which speaks of a “hopeless” situation. The organization Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) is also trying to provide assistance in the region. For its director of the analysis department, Jonathan Whittall, “ the humanitarian situation in Cabo Delgado is really very worrying ».

The humanitarian situation in Cabo Delgado is really very worrying. In some camps around Pemba there are people who have walked for days to be safe, or have come by boat, very often without food or water. When they arrive in these camps they find themselves facing another difficult situation: these camps are overcrowded, there is a lack of access to drinking water.

Jonathan Whittall from MSF (Médecins sans Frontières) on the humanitarian situation in Cabo Delgado

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