from ARMANDO DOMINGOS in Maputo, Mozambique
MAPUTO, (CAJ News) – THE conflict in northern Mozambique has created a mental health crisis among children.
An international aid agency, Save the Children, warned that the catastrophe emanated from the grave violations the minors had witnessed, including the murder of their parents.
The displaced children are reportedly showing signs of severe mental stress and distress, including loss of appetite, constant crying and losing the will to play.
Save the Children warned that these children might not recover unless they urgently received mental health and psycho-social support services.
“The perpetrators of violence in Cabo Delgado are using abhorrent tactics that terrify children,” said Chance Briggs, Save the Children’s Country Director in Mozambique.
“As a parent, it breaks my heart to think of how these kids must be struggling to process the unthinkable. As an organisation that works to protect children, Save the Children is incredibly concerned for their well-being and prospect of recovery.”
The conflict in Cabo Delgado has displaced at least 364 000 children.
“At best, they have been forced to flee from their homes and sense of safety. At worst, they have witnessed horrors no child should see,” Briggs lamented.
The Islamist insurgency has displaced some 700 000 people.
Over 3 000 have been killed.
At least 51 children, most of them girls, have been abducted over the past 12 months, although the true number of child abductions is estimated to be far higher.
Since September 2020, there have been reports of increased violations against civilians including sexual violence, beheadings and abductions.
– CAJ News