News24.com | Dozens of children, mostly girls abducted by jihadists in Mozambique during raids in 2020

  • According
    to British charity Save the Children, dozens of children were abducted by jihadists
    in Mozambique during raids in 2020.
  • In
    its report, it said “at least 51 children, most of them girls” have
    been captured in Cabo Delgado province.
  • In
    one of the attacks in June last year, 10 girls were taken while drawing water
    from a well.

Johannesburg
– Jihadists plaguing parts of northern Mozambique for the past three-and-half
years abducted dozens of children during raids in 2020, British charity Save
the Children said in a report published on Wednesday.

The
charity said the “abduction of children has become a new and alarmingly
regular tactic by armed groups involved in the conflict” and that the
numbers involved were likely higher than its estimates, based on data collected
by the US conflict tracker ACLED.

A child plays in one of the alleys of the port of Paquitequete near Pemba on 29 March 2021, where boats carrying people fleeing attacks in Palma landed.

It
said “at least 51 children, most of them girls” have been captured in
Cabo Delgado province, where Islamist attacks have displaced some 700 000
people since the violence started in 2017.

In
March, the Islamic State (ISIS) linked militants launched a coordinated assault
on Palma town, killing dozens and forcing more than 67 000 people to abandon
their homes.

Nearly
half of those displaced are children, and the true number of child abductions
could be far higher than the reported cases.

‘Extremely traumatising events’

Militants
locally known as Al-Shabab terrorise northern Mozambique, burning houses,
beheading people and forcing some into their ranks or holding them as sex
slaves.

A
jihadist video distributed in August last year, filmed in either Mozambique or
the Democratic Republic of Congo according to the US-based SITE Intelligence
Group, showed three gun-toting children flanked by adults in front of an ISIS
banner.

In
one of the attacks in June last year, 10 girls were taken while drawing water
from a well, Save The Children said.

The charity’s country director Chance Briggs said in the
report:

Being abducted, witnessing abductions, experiencing attacks, being forced to flee from armed groups – these are extremely traumatising events for young children and adolescents.

Save
the Children called for the immediate release of all abducted children and for
the perpetrators to be held to account.


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