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Mozambicans flee to Tanzania to escape Cabo Delgado attacks

Mozambicans fleeing attacks in northern Cabo Delgado are being housed in a refugee camp run by the Tanzanian authorities, sources say

Mozambicans fleeing attacks in northern Cabo Delgado have sought refuge in the Mtwara region of southern Tanzania, and may now be being housed in a refugee camp run by local Tanzanian authorities.

Ramazane Emedi, a Tanzanian who returned to his home country in early 2020 after living in Mozambique for a number of years, told Zitamar he had seen at least 800 people staying in a camp run by Tanzanian authorities, having arrived by boat to the coastal settlement of Msimbati. He said he recognised many of them from Mocímboa da Praia.

Another source, currently seeking refuge in the Mozambican city of Nampula, told Zitamar that his cousin is staying in a refugee camp in the Mtwara region. His cousin’s husband, however, who is a Tanzanian citizen, was detained by the authorities in Tanzania for questioning on why he had been in Mozambique, the source said.

Emedi said the refugees arrive by boat from islands off Mocímboa da Praia, which have been subject to repeated attacks in recent weeks. They arrive at Msimbati in Tanzania — a coastal village just north of the mouth of the Ruvuma River, which forms the border between Mozambique and Tanzania — and from there they are directed by the authorities to the refugee camp.

Edward Ogolla, a spokesman for the United Nations’ refugee agency UNHCR in Tanzania, told Zitamar he was not aware of a refugee camp in the area —  but said UNHCR does “not have a presence” in Mtwara, and nor does the agency have surveillance on the Mozambican border.

Zitamar’s emails and tweets to national and regional government agencies in Tanzania went unanswered.

A regional security analyst closely watching the situation in southern Tanzania said they understood there is no camp, but that refugees are sheltering with family and friends in the area.

Mozambique’s foreign ministry, MINEC, had not responded to a request for information from Zitamar’s partner, Mediafax, by the time of publishing.

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.