Mozambican historian Yussuf Adam warned yesterday that hundreds of women live in “terrible” situations and are the biggest victims of the conflict that has already killed more than a thousand people in Cabo Delgado, in the north of the country.
“Women are suffering in this war. What we hear every day is horrible,” Adam said on Tuesday in a webinar entitled “Military impasse: players and strategies”, which discussed the armed violence in northern Mozambique. Adam, a researcher since the 1970s who has focused on the province, says there are multiple reports of women disappearing after incursions by armed groups, and it is suspected that some of them are used as “sex slaves”.
“At least 700 women have been taken off into the woods by the insurgents and used as sex slaves or for agricultural labour,” the academic says. “It is a terrible thing, and not much talked about.”
Cabo Delgado has been the target of attacks by armed groups since October 2017, which have already killed at least 1,059 people in almost three years, in addition to the destruction of infrastructure.
According to the United Nations, armed violence has led to the flight of 250,000 people from districts affected by insecurity in the north of the province.
Some of the actions have been claimed by the Islamic State extremist group.