Civilians displaced by the conflict in Cabo Delgado are beginning to return to their homes along the Messalo river in Macomia and Muidumbe districts, despite the lack of basic public services.
Videos circulating online show the roads lined with hundreds of people, including men, women and children, carrying their belongings. One of these videos was purportedly taken near Miangelewa, in Muidumbe, just north of the Messalo.
There is however no drinking water supply in this entire area, according to online news service Pinnacle News, nor any schools or medical services.
As recently as 14 February, Miangelewa was the scene of heavy fighting between insurgents and security forces, but the Mozambican government-led Operation Vulcão IV appears to have driven the insurgency from their bases along the Messalo. Recent insurgent sightings have been concentrated along the coast of Macomia and Muidumbe.
Civilians have also returned to these coastal areas, particularly around the fishing villages of Pangane and Quiterajo, just as the insurgents have established themselves there. However, these insurgent groups have been largely peaceful so far. On 26 March, a group of insurgents appeared in Pangane trying to buy food and supplies.
The humanitarian situation around Quiterajo and Pangane is much the same as Miangelewa as there are no schools, water or health services. The road is also in bad condition, making it difficult to bring supplies.
As civilians return to communities along the Messalo, the Rwanda Defence Force is preparing to install an outpost at Miangelewa to provide additional security, one source told Zitamar.