Uh oh, you are using an old web browser that we no longer support. Some of this website's features may not work correctly because of this. Learn about updating to a more modern browser here.

Skip To Content

CABO DELGADO: More than 61,000 children displaced as fresh attacks lead to largest displacement in 18 months 

MAPUTO, 5 March, 2024 – More than 61,000 children have fled a new wave of violence in Cabo Delgado provinces in Mozambique in the past two months, the highest number uprooted in such a short period, Save the Children said today.

Multiple cases of violent confrontation between armed groups and security forces were reported in the districts of Macomia, Chiure, Mecufi, Metuge, Mocímboa da Praia, Quissanga, Muidumbe and Ibo in renewed violence across the northern province, forcing more than 99, 313 people - including more than 61,492 children - to flee their homes between 22 December and 3 March.

Now in its seventh year with no immediate end in sight, the conflict in Cabo Delgado has taken a devastating human toll. There are repeated reports of beheadings and abductions, including multiple child victims. The conflict has already left 540,000 people displaced with more than a half of them children.

The spike in attacks come after a mildly calmer period with attacks concentrated in some locations in the northern part of the province. In the past year about 600,000 people returned gradually to their districts of origin in an attempt to resume normal life.  However some smaller scale displacements continued to occur due to attacks in some of the returnee districts.

In Chiúre province, recent attacks in  in Mazeze and Ocua - which were until recently a safe haven for displaced people - resulted in widespread burning of people’s homes, markets,  a health centre, and church. The destruction of civilian and public infrastructure threatens to roll back gains made in resettling families and children back to homes and schools.

Save the Children is calling for urgent action to protect children, saying this wave of violence is a renewed attack on education, with more than 100 schools closed across 6 districts in Cabo Delgado, including an additional 17 schools in Nampula, affecting nearly 71,000 children. 

Brechtje van Lith, Save the Children’s Country Director in Mozambique, said:

“There are children who are seven years old now, longing to go to school for the first time this year but are now fleeing for their lives. These children have never known life without war and sadly belong to a growing generation of children whose childhood has become elusive.

“The recent spate of conflict and attacks represents a major setback in efforts to rebuild the lives of children and families in Cabo Delgado. We are calling for an immediate end to this conflict so children can live a peaceful life and go back to school.”

Save the Children and partners are reintegrating children into schools in the host communities while ensuring the distribution of school materials to students and teachers. In some communities, tents have been erected to provide temporary learning spaces. The organisation provides psychosocial support services to children and their caregivers and identifies unaccompanied and separated children for family tracing and reunification. The organisation and most responders in Cabo Delgado are critically challenged to access adequate funding to respond to the ongoing humanitarian needs.

Save the Children is a major responder to the crisis in Cabo Delgado, reaching 381,773 people, including nearly 259,6766 children in 2023. Internally displaced people, host communities and families have been supported with life-saving and life-sustaining support, through child protection, education, health, nutrition, livelihoods, water, sanitation and hygiene interventions, as well as humanitarian and peace building programs. Save the Children implements in Pemba, Metuge, Chiure, Montepuez, Mueda and Palma, Macomia, Quissanga and Mocímboa da Praia districts.


For further enquiries please contact:

media@savethechildren.org.uk / +44(0)7831 6504