.Displaced persons in Pemba, photo credit:AFP. –
The population has soared in Pemba, a northern Mozambique port known for its wide bay, but rather than tourists coming for a swim, the newcomers have fled Islamic extremists.
In the past few months, boatloads of people with little but the clothes they wear have landed under the palm trees after their homes fell prey to Al-Shabaab gunmen swearing allegiance to the Islamic State group (IS).
In October, the violent rebellion entered its fourth year and has reportedly killed more than 2,400 people and displaced half a million, according to the government.
Their villages were torched, many men killed and many young women kidnapped.
After seizing coastal zones that host natural gas installations, Islamist fighters have begun to push to the inland districts of Cabo Delgado province.
The last official census put Pemba’s population at more than 205,000, while more than 130,000 displaced people are estimated to have arrived.
Local authorities are now struggling to provide basic social services, Mayor Florete Simba told AFP.