The United Nations (UN) says it’s following with deep concern new reports of violations against civilians, including alleged beheadings and unverified reports of the use of child soldiers during attacks by non-state armed groups and clashes in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado’s Palma District.

The global body says they have been monitoring this since violent escalations on March 24th.

“It is extremely difficult to verify information on these incidents at this time for us, but we are concerned about the situation of civilians who fled the violence and those who remain in Palma. Nearly 12 800 people – 43 percent of those 12 800 people are children – have arrived in the districts of Nangade, Mueda, Montepuez and Pemba. Many more are expected to still be on the move in search of safety and assistance. Humanitarian partners in Mozambique are assisting displaced people at the arrival points and scaling up the ongoing humanitarian response in Cabo Delgado. So far in 2021, more than 500 000 people in the province have received humanitarian assistance,” says the UN Secretary General’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.

Dujarric has called on all parties to the conflict to respect international law.

“The United Nations calls on all parties to the conflict in Cabo Delgado to protect civilians. The humanitarian community in Mozambique was already stretched prior to the Palma attacks, having responded to multiple climate emergencies, on top of conflict in Cabo Delgado, in the first months of 2021. Yet, the humanitarian appeal for the Cabo Delgado crisis is currently just one percent funded. More resources are immediately required to meet the needs of people fleeing the violence in Palma,” says Dujarric