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Displaced people afraid to return to Quissanga while waiting for official guidance

Refugees from currently in accommodation camps in Metuge district are afraid to return home to Quissanga, despite Mozambique’s chief of police saying the area is safe

Refugees from Quissanga district in Cabo Delgado, currently in accommodation camps in Metuge district, are afraid to return home due to indications that terrorists remain in the district, despite Mozambique’s chief of police saying the area is safe.

Police chief Bernardino Rafael visited the town of Quissanga last Friday to assess the level of destruction carried out by insurgents during the attacks which led the population to flee.

At the end of the visit Rafael was reported as saying by DW that it was now possible for the population to return to the town, and that some houses had not been affected.

However, at least by Saturday, displaced people accommodated in several centres in Metuge said they had not received official information about a possible return.

One of the displaced told Zitamar News that since Friday he has been hearing that the population of Quissanga, both from the town and from the administrative posts of Bilibiza and Mahate, should return to their district.

"I don't know if I will or not," said Felix António. "But if I go it will be because here in Metuge I have no work to support myself," he added, saying he is waiting for the government's order.

Rafael, whose visit was accompanied by several members of the Defence and Security Forces, acknowledged that the return of the population to Quissanga would be a “challenge”, but, he noted, "there is a need to reoccupy the territory.”

More than 40,000 inhabitants have fled that district. The displaced people include the administrative authorities that have also been removed and still operate in rooms allocated by the government of the neighbouring Metuge district.

Meanwhile, sources in the town of Macomia told Zitamar this Sunday that in the coastal region of the district, terrorist groups are still circulating, especially in Mucojo-sede and in the region of Darumba, the southern zone for those going to Quissanga district.

This article was produced by Zitamar and Mediafax under the Cabo Ligado project, in collaboration with ACLED and with support from Crisis Group. The contents of the article are the sole responsibility of Zitamar News.