Picking up your relatives fleeing insurgents halfway along the road

Picking up your relatives fleeing insurgents halfway along the road
Picking up your relatives fleeing insurgents halfway along the road

Africa-Press – Mozambique. While hundreds continue to arrive every day in the Mozambican town of Chiùre, south of Cabo Delgado, fleeing the terrorist attacks, Helena Jaime takes the opposite route to pick up her family, already welcoming more than 50 into her home.

“My house is full of people. I have nothing to give now. I’ve run out of food,” she says in conversation with Lusa by the road, a few kilometres from the entrance to the village of Chiùre.

She’s returning home, once again in a few days, to accompany more family members who are fleeing the attacks and killings by insurgent groups that are multiplying in various administrative posts around the town of Chiùre, which has still escaped the violence of the last week.

It’s been at least three days on foot from the village of 25 September, in the administrative post of Chiùre Velho, the scene of attacks with deaths, burnt houses and violence. They arrive in a queue along the road, with what little they’ve managed to collect on their heads and their children on their backs.

“I’m sorry for my families, those evildoers attacked there, they got in and they’re there,” she explains.

Helena Jaime picks up family members halfway along the road to welcome them into her home in Chiùre.

“There have already been about 30 children, adults about 20 (…) I’m trying to rent a house to give to my family, to lend,” she says, in an example that is repeated throughout the town.

In Chiùre, where there were 75,000 inhabitants before the terrorist attacks, there are already around 13,000 displaced people in the resettlement camps spread across the three schools, according to figures from the local authority, but many more are being taken in by relatives, like Helena, who at 26 lives off the machamba (cultivated land) in the countryside.

“The field isn’t enough for the family I have. That dried manioc I had is gone,” she laments.

Even so, the family continues to welcome them into their home: “They came with nothing. Not even their ID documents.

“We need help,” she says.

After several months of a relative return to normality in the districts affected by armed violence, the province of Cabo Delgado, in northern Mozambique, has seen new movements and attacks by rebel groups for some weeks now, causing new waves of displaced people, above all.

On Thursday, Mozambican president Filipe Nyusi said on a visit to Cabo Delgado that the new rebel incursions are the result of attempts by armed groups to recruit new members, considering that last month the province saw “a lot of movement of terrorists”.

“They are no longer able to recruit in this province for many reasons, the awareness [of the public] and so they want to see if they can get other members here (…) They wanted to take children and young people but they weren’t successful,” declared Filipe Nyusi, moments after chairing a government meeting in Pemba, the provincial capital.

Mozambique’s prime minister, Adriano Maleiane, meanwhile recognised the need for additional support for Cabo Delgado in view of the flight of dozens of people due to the new attacks in that province, a situation that is creating “food problems”.

The new wave of armed violence in Cabo Delgado province dominated the speeches at the resumption of parliamentary sessions today, with the opposition demanding that the executive find mechanisms for dialogue with the insurgents.

The extremist group Islamic State (IS) has claimed several attacks and fatalities in recent weeks, especially in the south of Cabo Delgado province.

The province has been facing attacks claimed by IS for six years, which has led to a military response since July 2021, with support from Rwanda and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), liberating districts near the gas projects.

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