Gruesome new evidence of atrocities by Islamist insurgents in Mozambique – BBC News

now the bbc has been hearing gruesome testimony of abductions and beheadings in mozambique an islamist insurgency in the east african nation has driven more than half a million people from their homes in the past year but aid agencies say it's a humanitarian crisis that the rest of the world has ignored a bbc team has reached a besieged town at the heart of the conflict the first international journalist to do so our africa correspondent andrew harding has sent us this report from palmer in cabo delgado region of mozambique it looks alluring but below us northern mozambique is now a place of terror we're flying into palmer a small town under siege all roads cut the outskirts unnervingly empty in town we find traumatized families these children have just fled their village on foot seeking refuge here their uncle holds up an id card his brothers beheaded with six others at the weekend we have nothing left now says [Applause] [Music] insurgency now linked to the islamic state group with a taste for abductions and butchery its fighters have swept through this region with bewildering speed a savage scorched earth offensive no wonder people in palmer are close to panic food supply is running low the situation here in palma really is very grim and you can see the frustration and the desperation amongst local people because there's simply no food and what food there is is incredibly expensive very very angry i'm very angry i have it three days without eating nothing and i'm here but i don't get nothing as we fly out of palma a glimpse of building work for a multi-billion dollar gas project resource rich mozambique could be wealthy but the money rarely seems to reach the public instead poverty resentment and now conflict we're heading to a makeshift camp for displaced families in the past year al-shabab have forced half a million people in this remote region to run for their lives you get a real sense here of the scale of the conflict and also how quickly it's accelerating this camp alone had about 60 000 people in it three months ago today it's doubled in size the conditions are bleak so are the stories that people have carried with them many children from our village are here alone their mothers were abducted says they took my 14 year old granddaughter says alberto carlos i can only guess what's happened to her against these militants mozambique's government forces are struggling to put it politely they've hired private foreign security companies to help out but both have been accused of human rights abuses and still the exodus of civilians continues many fleeing by boat along the coast on a beach fatima abdul shows me her makeshift tent but the smiles hide her trauma during their escape her 22 year old daughter was torn from her arms by an al-shabab militant i watched them take her she says then they set fire to our village and so it is that a tranquil corner of africa sinks into chaos and despair andrew harding bbc news in northern mozambique

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