(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 Cathholic Bishops' Conference, regularly compiles reports on Northern Mozambique from its sources in Pemba, Mozambique. We co-publish, with the DHPI, those reports here.

By Johan Viljoen

SA Government Puzzled by Failure of Mozambique Government to Request Regional Support

South Africa has expressed continuing frustration at the Mozambique government’s failure to state what help it wants in fighting a growing incursion which has now displaced more than 565,000 people. 

South African International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor said the inability of the regional body, the South African Development Community (SADC), to decide how to help Mozambique combat the  insurgency “remains a very worrying puzzle to us as the South African government”. 

“We have made every effort to reach out to the government of Mozambique and to sit with them to decide a support agenda,” she said on Wednesday in a webinar organised by London’s Chatham House on South Africa’s foreign policy. 

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.

By Johan Viljoen

Concern Over TOTAL’s Increasing Leverage In Security Matters

After January 1, when 2 alleged insurgents were discovered in a residence in Afungi, Total has quietly resumed its work. At least the logistics are operating. Loads of supplies to the site were seen in Pemba. The report of insurgents killed by the Joint Task Force (FDS and Total), was enough for Total to announce the evacuation of Afungi during the first week of January. The document announcing the evacuation was based on two facts: 2 insurgents were killed at Quitupo, near the installations (although there are no reports of an engagement with insurgents), and a threat of attack on Palma for the 5th of January, which never materialized. Total had a structural project for the Mozambican economy interrupted because of a threat. This raises the question:  what is the capacity of the Joint Task Force? Sources in the sector say that Total used the pretext of insecurity to gain an advantage over the Joint Task Force itself. Total has claimed behind the scenes that the FDS soldiers who are part of the JTF are not properly prepared and some of them are suspected of being linked to the insurgency (there is no trust between the two parties) and some of them defected to the insurgency shortly after the events (allegedly because they are better paid there). Throughout the week of 11 January, the Government and Total held talks, in which Total challenged the government on three issues: the failure to provide the security guarantees promised in October, the lack of political solutions and the failure of military interventions. Under the July 2020 security agreement between Total and the Mozambican government, Afungi was to be protected by 1000 military and police officers and part of the private security contracted by Total, and there would be an increase in maritime security.  In exchange, Total agreed to provide funding and logistical support for the Joint Task Force. 

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.

Johan Viljoen

Mozambique Government Concerned About Attacks Near TOTAL Installations

Pressured by oil company Total, which requires clear security guarantees in Afungi, the government of Filipe Nyusi is in a race against time to find a solution that will enable the continuity of gas projects in the Rovuma basin. In their most recent forays into the Palma District, insurgents were fought in the vicinity of Afungi, the center of oil operations. Alarms went off and Total E&P Mozambique Area 1, operator of the Mozambique LNG project, evacuated part of its camp, one of the measures in the security protocol. Some companies that provide services followed his example and removed their staff, paralyzing part of the activities. Last week, those in charge of Total's security sector travelled to Maputo to discuss security issues in Afungi with Mozambican authorities. It is not known whether or not there was a commitment or guarantee by the Government to strengthen security on the Afungi peninsula, the main requirement of the French company Total. On Monday, the President of the Republic travelled to Tanzania where he discussed with his counterpart John Magufuli ways to contain violent extremism in both countries. Foreign insurgents (Tanzanians, Somalis, Congolese, Rwandans, Ugandans and Burundians) operating in Cabo Delgado enter Mozambique across the common border with Tanzania, so a political agreement between the two states is essential to halt expansion and intensification of the armed violence in the north of the country. On his trip to Tanzania, Nyusi was accompanied by the Commander-in-Chief of the Police, Bernardino Rafael, and by the Commander of the Northern Operational Command Post, Major-General Eugénio Mussa. It is the first trip abroad dedicated to security issues in which the President of the Republic included a high ranking FADM officer in his entourage, a gesture that signals the power that the military is gaining in command of operations in Cabo Delgado.

The Denis Hurley Peace Initiative, 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.

By Johan Viljoen

Refugees from Cabo Delgado Increasing in Nampula, Threatening Humanitarian Catastrophe

With a population of 743 125 (according to the 2017 census), Nampula is the third largest city in Mozambique (after Maputo and Beira). The city is in the grips of an extreme drought. There has been no rainfall since the beginning of last year, and the dam supplying water to the city has dried up. The city has been completely without water for two weeks now.

The situation is desperate. Covid19 infections are increasing exponentially, as residents are unable to wash their hands regularly or observe basic hygiene practices. There are already reports of cholera. With crops having failed due to the absence of rain this year, malnutrition and starvation are spreading. 

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: 8 December 2020

Johan Viljoen

SACBC Solidarity Visit

Denis Hurley Peace Institute (DHPI) facilitated a solidarity visit by the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) to the Diocese of Pemba, Cabo Delgado,  over the period 2 to 4 December. The SACBC delegation consisted of Bishop Victor Phalana (Bishop of Klerksdorp and SACBC liaison Bishop for Justice and Peace), Bishop Jose Luis Ponce de Leon (Bishop of Manzini), Sr Tshifhiwa Munenzhe (newly appointed SACBC Secretary General) and Johan Viljoen (DHPI Director). The Mozambican delegation consisted of Bishop Luis Fernando Lisboa (Bishop of Pemba) and Archbishop Inacio Saure (Archbishop of Nampula and Vice President of the Mozambican Bishops’ Conference), Mr Manuel Nota (Director of Diocese of Pemba Caritas) and Ms Bettinha Ribeiro (Caritas Pemba Project Manager). The group visited Good Shepherd Mission (Pemba), Paquitiquete (Pemba), as well as refugee settlements in Ancwabe (about 100 km north of Pemba) and Metuge (about 50 km from Pemba). 

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: 19 November  2020

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 October  2020

Johan Viljoen

Is an attack on Pemba Imminent?

The arrival of over 7 000 displaced persons on fishing boats during the course of last week in Pemba, fleeing attacks by insurgents in the north of the province, has raised fears of a possible attack on the city of Pemba itself. On Friday 23 October Julião João Cumbane, a senior Frelimo party member and part of the country’s intelligence community, wrote on his Facebook page that there are almost certainly “terrorists” amongst the refugees, who are posing as refugees to infiltrate Pemba, and plan an attack. 

On Saturday 27 October information was received from Metuge, about 10 km from Pemba, that insurgents had sent messengers to the community to warn them to evacuate “if they wanted to save their lives”. The City of Pemba is situated on a peninsula on the southern entrance to Pemba Bay. Metuge is on the mainland. 

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.

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