By: Melvin Arthur, Activist and partner of JA/ Nampula Province
A 15 year old girl, whose identity we’ve omitted, from the district of Palma in Cabo Delgado province, was forced by her progenitors to marry an adult of approximately 45 years of age as a way to alleviate herself from hunger within her family.
The minor, to whom we have attributed the name of Angela, arrived in the neighbourhood of Carrupeia, in the city of Nampula in May last year, when alongside 19 members of her family, she chose this capital of the north of Mozambique as a safe place of refuge against the terrorist attacks in the district of Palma.
Lacking any support, including food and shelter, from both governmental authorities and humanitarian organizations, young Angela’s parents decided (according to her) to force her to marry a 45-year-old adult, who was married already to another woman, as a way to ensure that he’d continue assisting her, especially with food, in order to guarantee the survival of the remaining members of her family.
After the marriage was negotiated, Angela began living with her first husband in a house rented by him, located still in the neighbourhood of Carrupeia, within the municipal administrative post of Napinine.
“My parents advised me to marry that man, firstly, to make things easier at home because we had no capacity to accommodate a lot of people, and secondly due to the lack of food. It was a decision made by my parents which I couldn’t refuse”, said Angela.
Angela’s marriage, though it didn’t even last a year, led to a pregnancy which resulted in a stillbirth. “After loosing the baby, I abandoned the house, against the will of my parents” she said, adding that she does not regret it, despite the difficulties she is currently going through to find food and shelter.
In Nampula, early marriages and child prostitution have been increasing lately and those displaced from the districts affected by the terrorist attacks in Cabo Delgado are the main protagonists of this reality*.
Many families of the war-displaced peoples living in the city of Nampula have been complaining because of their exclusion from the support of organizations. Some of the displaced people are begging for some coins in mosques, roads, and commercial establishments just to survive.
It should be noted that the province of Nampula has seen the arrival of a bit less than 70 thousand people displaced by terrorist attacks in Cabo Delgado, the majority of which have been living with relatives or in rented houses.