1. Authorities Give Ultimatum for Civil Servant IDP’s to Return Despite Insecurity and Continuing Attacks

The Municipal Council of Mocímboa da Praia gave a period of 10 days for all employees to return to the town – which was recovered in August 2021 after having remained in the hands of violent extremists for almost a year. In a statement issued last Thursday, 5th of May, the Mayor Cheia Carlos Momba summoned all the employees of the municipality to present themselves, on 15th of May, in the village of Mueda, from where they should take transport to Mocímboa da Praia. The statement ends with a threat: “The absence of the employee will merit administrative measures ”. The communication by mayor Momba does not say what kind of “administrative measures” will be taken against employees who, for some reason, do not come forward.

This is not the first time that authorities from districts affected by violence in northern Cabo Delgado order officials to present themselves to the respective authorities under penalty of being sanctioned. Calls for employees are made in a context in which conditions do not yet exist for the return of populations to towns that had been occupied by the extremists. In March, a delegation from the Council of Ministers declared that they had not yet created conditions for the return of displaced populations to their areas of origin. The Minister of Labor and Social Security, who headed the delegation, went to the districts affected by violence to assess conditions for the return of populations. “There is trauma due to what they went through and we recognize the urgent need for infrastructure rehabilitation and allocation of means of work, especially circulating means, including ambulances”, said Margarida Talapa. The Minister also referred to the existence of “failures in the consolidation of security in the areas affected” by extremism. In fact, violence remains present in Cabo Delgado. For example, last Friday, a group of more than 10 insurgents attacked the headquarters of the administrative post of Olumbe. This is the first attack recorded in the territory under the control of Rwandan forces since the takeover of the village of Mocímboa da Praia and the administrative posts of Mbau and Pundanhar. This week, the provincial commander of the PRM in Cabo Delgado, Vicente Chicote, confirmed the attacks by in Macomia and Nangade districts. “The fight against terrorism continues, and we continue to battle against the last strongholds of the enemy which are currently located in the district of Macomia and Nangade”.

Abudo Gafuro, a human rights activist in Cabo Delgado, said that populations are not returning to areas of origin due to fear of extreme violence. “When our young volunteers ask displaced people what they need to return to their areas of origin, they respond by saying that they do not trust the MozambicanForces. They say if the State itself did not trust the FADM and looks to the Rwandans to defend us, so they can only return if there are guarantees that the Rwandans will be there to defend them. People are afraid to go back to their homes because they saw scenes of violence, such as the beheading of family members by insurgents and human rights violations by the Defense and Security Forces. It left a lot of people traumatized.”

2. Cabo Delgado: Humanitarian Aid Needed for Children to Return to Schools, UNICEF Warns

More than 200,000 children are without school amid the crisis in northern Mozambique and humanitarian organizations are lacking support, says a source at the United Nations Children’s Fund.

“An amount of 23 million [euros] would be what is needed to meet all humanitarian needs in education” during 2022 in Mozambique and which are concentrated in the north, explained a source from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in an interview with Lusa News Agency. However, by the end of the first quarter, the education cluster had only 3.3% of that value (the group includes two Mozambican organizations, 14 international organizations and two United Nations agencies), in a global scenario where the pandemic and now Ukraine are priorities of several donors. “Given the current context, it will be a challenge to achieve the goals to which the entire team and partners dedicate themselves every day,” according to the same source.

The provinces of Cabo Delgado, Niassa and Nampula face the consequences of several years of insurgency, cyclones and the Covid-19 pandemic, triggering a humanitarian crisis with nearly 800,000 displaced people in which underfunding affects all areas, from food support to education. There is a double crisis: on top of the humanitarian crisis, there is a funding crisis for the organisations themselves trying to provide aid.

“The scarcity of funds available for humanitarian interventions has been acute since the Covid-19 pandemic”, as it was a “global emergency” and currently “intervention in response to the conflict in Ukraine is essential for several donors,” the same source explained.

In Mozambique, the 23 million euros budgeted for education this year includes the needs of the sector for the whole country, including for the rehabilitation of school infrastructure. Many schools have not opened doors. In Cabo Delgado province alone, there are 114 classrooms destroyed and less than half of the 386 affected schools opened for the 2022 school year – not least because in addition to the destruction of infrastructure, accessibility and security problems persist in several districts. Education services are under intense pressure with almost 30,000 displaced children, who have fled conflict zones, attending community schools.

After rebuilding buildings, “support is needed to motivate children to return to school, to ensure that they are safe spaces to learn and it is necessary to address the traumas students and teachers faced in the last year, maintaining the quality of education”, reads an analysis of the situation made by the group in January and February.

Given the scenario, actions on the ground “are planned according to available funds,” a UNICEF source concludes.

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