The United Nations have revealed nearly 30,000 people have fled their homes in the town of Palma in northern Mozambique following attacks late last month that killed dozens of people.
The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Friday that approximately 30,000 people fled Palma since the fighters linked to ISIL (ISIS) raided the coastal town on March 24.
UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch said the agency was “deeply concerned by the humanitarian consequences of the rapid escalation of violence” in northern Mozambique, voicing particular concern about “the safety and wellbeing of the most vulnerable among the displaced, including women and children”.
The raids late last month marked a significant intensification in violence that has wreaked havoc on Cabo Delgado province for more than three years as the fighters seek to establish a caliphate.
“Those who fled have faced significant barriers trying to reach safety both inside the country and while attempting to cross borders,” Baloch told reporters in Geneva.
Cabo Delgado has been battered by a bloody rebellion since 2017 by a group known locally as al-Shabab.
The violence has killed at least 2,600 people, according to the US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data (ACLED) project, and the UNHCR says more than 700,000 have been displaced.