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Montepuez receives new wave of refugees as attacks intensify

Large numbers of people have arrived in the Cabo Delgado town of Montepuez, after attacks on Muidumbe and fears Mueda could be next

The district of Montepuez has been receiving internally displaced persons since last week, following the intensification of terrorist attacks in the north of Cabo Delgado province.

Photos sent to Zitamar News show mainly women and children arriving in Montepuez from Mueda district, after Muidumbe district was invaded at the end of October, and citizens fear that Mueda will be next.

Some of the displaced persons live in Mueda, including, reportedly, high ranking officials from the ruling party, Frelimo, while others are from Muidumbe, who had taken refuge in Mueda after their district was first attacked in April.

Privately-owned transport company Nagi Investimentos suspended its services to Mueda district last week, with the pending rain season and fears of attacks, Pinnacle News reported.

A member of the Tomás Nduda community multimedia centre in Muidumbe told Zitamar that transport is hard to come by. He caught a bus to Mueda on Sunday, having been trying since Friday. From Montepuez he hopes to travel on to Pemba.

The lack of transport has caused journey prices to double, with a trip between Mueda and Montepuez costing between MZN1,000 and MZN1,500 against the MZN700 charged previously.

On Thursday of last week a displaced person died and others were injured after a car making the journey crashed near to Nairoto village, in the district of Montepuez, according to a resident in Montepuez and a refugee from Muidumbe, now in Montepuez. The survivors were taken to the local rural hospital.

A displaced person who has been in Montepuez since Wednesday of last week told Zitamar that he could only get a room for rent two days after arriving. Some people are forced to stay at the local transport terminal because they can’t access accommodation.

A resident of Palma said that the demand for trucks to transport passengers in Mueda had slowed the flow of goods arriving in Palma, forcing locals to turn to Tanzania to buy food.

People have also been fleeing from Nangade district and Pundanhar, in Palma district. A resident of Palma town who spoke to passengers who had travelled the Nangade-Palma section through Pundanhar said that that area was deserted due to the attacks.

However, up to 1000 displaced persons who were recently deported by the Tanzanian authorities in the border area of the Negomano administrative post, Mueda district, have settled there because they believe it is safer. The secretary of state of Cabo Delgado province, Armindo Ngunga, told the press that he was aware of the situation and promised that the local government would create conditions for resettlement in the area.

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.