Kidnapped by insurgents about two years ago, the teenagers and women were freed by the joint Mozambican and Rwandan forces.

Dozens of teenagers and women taken hostage during insurgent attacks in Macomia and Muidumbe districts in the Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado have resurfaced this week, after nearly two years in rebel hands.

The information was provided to VOA this Thursday, September 16, by various local sources.

The first group of nine, which includes girls kidnapped during the assault on Muidumbe town in Chitunda, on April 7, 2019, reappeared on Monday, September 13, after escaping from one of the insurgent bases in southern Mocímboa da Praia.

Another group, of women and teenagers, including pregnant girls, also reappeared in the town of Macomia, on Wednesday 15th, after a walk of several days through the woods.

“I met one of the (kidnapped) girls, aged nine, and she said that she had an adult ‘husband’ in the forest,” social activist Sulemane Rachid told VOA, adding that several of the teenagers were sexually abused by the rebels.

Another Macomia resident, whose niece was among those who had reappeared, said that “they were set free” because an attack on the base where they were staying was thought imminent, and all the men had been “sent to war”.

Authorities have not yet commented on the reappearance of the teenagers.

Last week, troops from Mozambique and Rwanda announced a significant advance in the woods south of Mocimboa da Praia and north of Macomia, where they deactivated two important rebel bases linked to the Islamic State.

The joint force assaulted the Siri 1 and Siri 2 bases, recovering at the first of these large quantities of weapons, fuel, ammunition and combat vehicles, which supposedly passed into the hands of insurgents in the assault on the state arsenal in Mocímboa da Praia.

Source: VOA