(Northern) Mozambique

(Northern) Mozambique

Articles containing narratives and analyses about the situation in northern Mozambique: the exploitation of natural resources, the role of the Mozambiquan military, the role of foreign military and paramilitary groups, and the insurgency that began in the mid-2010s

The Denis Hurley Peace Institute, an NGO that is part of the South African Catholic Bishops' Conference, regularly compiles reports on Northern Mozambique from its sources in Pemba, Mozambique. We co-publish, with the DHPI, those reports here.

COUNTRY UPDATE: 21 October  2020

Johan Viljoen

An escalation in the fighting in Cabo Delgado has resulted in a renewed influx of refugees to the provincial capital Pemba, by boat. The first fishing boats arrived on Saturday 17 October when hundreds of families disembarked  at Paquiquete beach from boats, each carrying 30 to 40 people, fleeing the armed conflict in the districts of Quissanga and Macomia. Children, women, the elderly and the sick travelled several miles in overcrowded boats. On Sunday around 700 people from the Quirimbas Archipelago, and from communities of Olumboa, Guludo, Ntoni, Kirimizi and Mucojo, in Macomia district, disembarked at the beach, the majority of them women and children.

The Denis Hurley Peace Institute, an NGO that is part of the South African Catholic Bishops' Conference, regularly compiles reports on Northern Mozambique from its sources in Pemba, Mozambique. We co-publish, with the DHPI, those reports here.

COUNTRY UPDATE: 16 October  2020

Johan Viljoen

Insurgents attach village in Tanzania

For the first time, the conflict in Cabo Delgado has spilled across the border into Tanzania, marking a dangerous escalation of the violence. About 30 insurgents  from Mozambique attacked the village of Kitaya on the Ruvuma river (right by the border) on 14 October n the evening (around 7 to 9 pm). There is a Tanzanian army base close to the village and Tanzanian soldiers tried to intervene, but the insurgents were very well equipped with machine guns and other material, and the soldiers could not do much. According to reports, two Tanzanian soldiers and 1 villager were killed, and another villager was shot in the legs.  1 tanker and 2 army vehicles were burned, in addition to the village dispensary, shops, warehouses and several houses. 30 Tanzanian villagers were taken by force to Mozambique by the insurgents. The insurgents claimed that that this was only the beginning, as they want the border between Tanzania and Mozambique to start in Lindi, not Mtwara

The Denis Hurley Peace Institute, an NGO that is part of the South African Catholic Bishops' Conference, regularly compiles reports on Northern Mozambique from its sources in Pemba, Mozambique. We co-publish, with the DHPI, those reports here.

COUNTRY UPDATE: 12 October 2020

Johan Viljoen

Suspected terrorists arrested in Quelimane, Zambezia Province

The arrest of four suspected terrorists on Thursday 8 October in Quelimane, the capital of Zambezia Province, has raised fears in Mozambique that the threat is now expanding beyond Cabo Delgado Province. 

Reports state that the four young men rented a residence for five days in the Torrone Velho neighborhood on the outskirts of Quelimane. Many different people came to the house daily, which raised suspicions on the part of the residents, who alerted the law enforcement agencies. The suspects were eventually arrested on Thursday (10/8).

The police have not yet commented on what happened.

“I saw the affliction of my people and I heard their cry, I know their sufferings and I went down to set them free… ”(Ex. 3, 7)

DIOCESE OF PEMBA, PROVINCE OF CAPE DELGADO, MOZAMBIQUE

Sr. Marinês Biasibetti

Activity carried out in the province of Cabo Delgado from 03 to 06 August.

Cabo Delgado Province is rich in natural resources and the discovery of gas and precious stone deposits in the region has attracted many foreign companies, which is contributing to aggravate old conflicts, feeding the differences between the privileged and the poor and vulnerable population.

The attacks began in October 2017 and have taken on terrible dimensions to this day, terrorizing populations and forcing mass migration.

 “The situation of the displaced is a major concern for the diocese, an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, a situation that is likely to get worse, the entire diocese through its organizations and NGOs, government institutions and people of goodwill are involved in assistance to the displaced, each giving their contribution, the number of displaced people in the province already exceeds 250 thousand with more than a thousand dead, civilians, security forces, insurgents, in addition to the disappearance and abduction of countless people, including journalists.

The Denis Hurley Peace Institute, an NGO that is part of the South African Catholic Bishops' Conference, regularly compiles reports on Northern Mozambique from its sources in Pemba, Mozambique. We co-publish, with the DHPI, those reports here.

COUNTRY UPDATE: 8 October 2020 - WHO PROFITEERS  IN CABO DELGADO?

Johan Viljoen

The global perception, informed by the media, believes that the conflict in Cabo Delgado is religious: Islamic terrorists who are intent on establishing an Islamic state there. This view is generally not shared by Mozambican commentators and analysts, who point out various root causes of the conflict. 

Jacinto Veloso is a former Portuguese air force pilot who flew his plane to Tanzania to join Frelimo in 1963. He was Security Minister (1980-83) and continued in government until 1994. He is currently a member of the government’s National Defence and Security Council (CNDS). A minister during the 1982-92 war, he saw big power destabilisation first hand. 

In an interview published in Savanah newspaper on 5 June 2020,  he argues that the war in Cabo Delgado represents a major strategic onslaught by an unknown party with vested interests on Mozambique’s  gas resources in order to control them. “ We are dealing with a mega-operation conceived, directed, and executed from outside the country.” He cites as a model the United States use of Islamic fundamentalists, notably Osama bin Laden, in Afghanistan from 1979 to eventually defeat the Russians.

The Denis Hurley Peace Institute, an NGO that is part of the South African Catholic Bishops' Conference, regularly compiles reports on Northern Mozambique from its sources in Pemba, Mozambique. We co-publish, with the DHPI, those reports here.

COUNTRY UPDATE: 5 October  2020

Johan Viljoen

Mozambique government requests military assistance from EU

The Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, said on 30 September that he is sure that the European Union's response to Mozambique, which asked for support for the training of its forces, will be positive.

"We received in the European Union the letter sent by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Mozambique, it is a very clear letter. Mozambique is very clear in identifying the areas in which European cooperation can support them, namely in the fight against terrorism in Cabo Delgado and I am sure that the European Union will give a positive answer ", said Augusto Santos Silva.

The Denis Hurley Peace Institute, an NGO that is part of the South African Catholic Bishops' Conference, regularly compiles reports on Northern Mozambique from its sources in Pemba, Mozambique. We co-publish, with the DHPI, those reports here.

COUNTRY UPDATE: 15 SEPTEMBER 2020

Johan Viljoen

Atrocities against civilians

Following the report by Amnesty International last week, giving particulars of videos detailing atrocities by government soldiers, the issue has once again been raised. On Tuesday 14 September a video emerged on social media, seemingly being taken by a soldier – a member of a group patrolling a rural area. A naked women appears in the road ahead of them. After one soldier beats her with a stick, she runs away. A soldier opens fire on her. She collapses in the road. The soldiers continue shooting at her, at close range, until there is no more movement. The group of soldiers then turn around and walk away. According to initial information received, the incident occurred in the Diaca/Oasse area, between Mueda and Mocimboa da Praia districts.

The government was quick to react. On the same day, a letter was issued by the government, condemning the incident, and stating that the military exists to protect the human rights of the country’s citizens. On Wednesday 15 September the Mozambique Army website (https://defesammoz.info) published a report by the National Commission for Human Rights calling for an investigation into the Amnesty International report. 

The Denis Hurley Peace Institute, an NGO that is part of the South African Cathholic Bishops' Conference, regularly compiles reports on Northern Mozambique from its sources in Pemba, Mozambique. We co-publish, with the DHPI, those reports here.

COUNTRY UPDATE: 9 September 2020

Johan Viljoen

Nuns kidnapped in Mocimboa da Praia freed

Club of Mozambique reported the following:

The two sisters of the congregation of St. Joseph of Chambery kidnapped on 12 August in Mocímboa da Praia (Mozambique) have been freed. This was announced on Sunday, September 6, by Mgr. Luiz Fernando Lisboa, Bishop of Pemba. “The nuns – highlights the Bishop in a note sent to Agenzia Fides – are safe and sound. Inês and Eliane, who work in the parish of Mocímboa da Praia, after twenty-four days spent in prisons, are back among us”.

The two nuns of Brazilian origin had been kidnapped during a furious attack by al-Shabab militias, on Tuesday 12 August, in Mocímboa da Praia, an important centre in the province of Cabo Delgado. On that occasion, the police and the armed forces were forced to withdraw hastily, leaving the militia free for a few days. During that period, the nuns were kidnapped from their community and taken away. For a few days nothing was known about them, but the national and international authorities immediately mobilised to facilitate their release. The negotiations were successful.

The Denis Hurley Peace Institute, an NGO that is part of the South African Cathholic Bishops' Conference, regularly compiles reports on Northern Mozambique from its sources in Pemba, Mozambique. We co-publish, with the DHPI, those reports here.

COUNTRY UPDATES: 2 SEPTEMBER 2020

Johan Viljoen

President visits Bishop of Pemba

On 31 August 2020 President Felipe Nyusi held a meeting with Bishop Luis Fernando Lisboa at the Episcopal Palace in Pemba.  Bishop Luiz Fernando, who invited the President of the Republic, speaking at the end of the private meeting to journalists present, thanked the chief executive of Mozambique for his availability. In turn, Filipe Nyusi was happy and grateful for the invitation and praised the role of the Church in Cabo Delgado.

After the meeting with Bishop  Luiz Lisboa, Nyusi delivered a reassuring speech: “The country is living at a time when it needs to speak, to dialogue. It is necessary to understand what the other sees and what the other knows. Being a religious, this Bishop of ours has a lot of information. It is logical information because the church is implanted here in the territory of the province and has many believers, priests. We took the opportunity to share information and even exchange some ideas ”. The Bishop of Pemba thanked  the President of the Republic and said that the conversation had been “rich” and “fruitful”.

The meeting followed two weeks of escalating tension between the Church and the State, during which period the Holy Father personally phoned the Bishop, and the Mozambique Episcopal Conference issued a Pastoral letter, in a show of unity.

The Denis Hurley Peace Institute, an NGO that is part of the South African Cathholic Bishops' Conference, regularly compiles reports on Northern Mozambique from its sources in Pemba, Mozambique. We co-publish, with the DHPI, those reports here.

COUNTRY UPDATE: 27 AUGUST 2020

Johan Viljoen

Press Freedom Under Attack

Following attacks on the Church last week, the independent media in Mozambique has also come under attack, posing a serious threat to press freedom and freedom of expression. At 20h00 on the evening of Sunday 23 August, the Maputo offices of Canalmoz/Canal de Moçambique were attacked by unknown assailants, and firebombed. Destruction was total – all files, computers, printers and other equipment were destroyed.

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