Number of unaccompanied children fleeing Mozambique rises 40 percent

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Mozambique
Mozambique

More and more children are fleeing in northern Mozambique amid ongoing violence, according to a new report.

Over the past month, the number of unaccompanied children fleeing conflict in the restive Cabo Delgado province has risen by 40 per cent, Save the Children aid organization said on Monday.

A total of 336,000 girls and boys have been driven out so far.

Islamist rebels have been carrying out brutal attacks since 2017 in northern Mozambique, a region where the French energy company Total is involved in a liquefied gas project worth billions.

A major attack in the coastal city of Palma in March was claimed by the Islamic State group.

According to the UN Refugee Agency, more than 730,000 people have been displaced. Experts say that the rebellion has its roots in grievances among the inhabitants of the region, who are deeply impoverished and have been neglected by the government for years.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is also to deploy soldiers as a standby force to counter the growing number of attacks.

The force was to be stationed in the region together with a contingent of Rwandan soldiers since mid-July for an initial period of three months, according to unconfirmed reports.

The European Union set up a military mission in July to train Mozambican forces, with soldiers mainly provided by Portugal.

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