The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has accused Tanzania of turning back hundreds of asylum seekers fleeing attacks by ISIS-linked insurgents in the Mozambican coastal town of Palma.UNHCR said in a statement on Tuesday that it had received reports that several families from Palma attempted to seek asylum in Tanzania due to the proximity to the border.
“As of 4 April, UNHCR was informed that around 600 Mozambican asylum seekers crossed the border to Tanzania and were refouled through Negomano to Cabo Delgado,” the refugee agency said.
It said it was in touch with both Mozambican and Tanzanian officials over the issue.
According to UNHCR, close to 10,000 people had fled from Palma in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province between 24 March when the attacks started and and 2 April.
It said displaced families were fleeing by land and sea to the districts of Nangade, Mueda, Montepuez and Pemba, and that the majority of these were being hosted by relatives and friends.
Due to insecurity in Palma, humanitarian evacuations by air and sea have been suspended since 2 April, leaving thousands stranded in the area.
More than 700,000 people had been forcibly displaced by violence in Cabo Delgado and neighbouring provinces since 2017 the armed insurgency commenced.