Over 51 children abducted in troubled Mozambican region – Report

At least 51 children have been abducted by armed groups in Mozambique's northern Cabo Delgado province over the past year,…

At least 51 children have been abducted by armed groups in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province over the past year, according to a new report published by Save the Children on Wednesday.The charity said an analysis of data collected on the violence in Cabo Delgado showed that the abduction of children, mostly girls, “has become a new and alarmingly regular tactic by armed groups involved in the conflict.”

Save the Children country director for Mozambique, Chance Briggs said the actual number of child abductions is estimated to be “far higher” than the 51 as some of the cases go unreported

“Abducting a child constitutes one of the six grave violations against children in times of conflict, as defined by the United Nations,” Briggs said.

He described the increase in the abduction of children, which has been especially rampant since 2020, as “a first step towards war crimes such as forced child conscription or sexual violence against children.”

The Save the Children report reveals a series of incidents where children have been targeted for abduction, sometimes in large groups. 

In one of the attacks in June 2020, some 10 girls were abducted while drawing water from a local well.

In another attack in January 2021, 21 people were abducted in a group, including six children.

The abductions come in the wake of a recent surge in attacks by armed militia linked to the Islamic State terror group.

At least 700,000 people, including at least 364,000 children, are now displaced in the provinces of Cabo Delgado, Nampula, Niassa, Sofala, and Zambezia as a result of violence and insecurity. 

More than 2,800 people have reportedly died in the conflict.

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