from ARMANDO DOMINGOS in Maputo, Mozambique
MAPUTO, (CAJ News) – MORE than 200 children have been separated from their parents following the recent reign of terror by Islamists north of Mozambique.
Some of these minors apparently are orphaned after scores of people were left dead during the militants takeover of the coastal town of Palma towards the end of March.
Manuel Fontaine, Director of Emergency Programmes at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), said they had identified some 220 children during the recent visit to Cabo Delgado, the province that is the epicentre of the crisis.
“There’s certainly more (children) there,” the envoy said.
He retold of the horror children had gone through during the attacks by the Islamists.
“I remember this teenage boy, who saw his mother being killed in the field and had to run. His father was actually in another part of the town and since then, no news,” Fontaine said.
The UNICEF director said some children arrived completely silent and were not able to really articulate much and traumatised in many ways.
“And then progressively, we try to help them just get back on their feet, physically and psychologically, but also trying to find their families. We are getting some good news in that some cases are going better.”
It has been previously reported that some Islamists perpetrating the violence in the Cabo Delgado had recruited children to serve in their ranks.
The conflict has left an estimated 2 500 people dead since the first attacks in 2017.
– CAJ News