(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.

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.

By Joseph Hanlon

There is growing pressure in South Africa for military intervention in the insurgency in Cabo Delgado province in northern Mozambique. But the government needs to be aware that it would be choosing sides in an extremely complicated civil war. The elite from the ruling party, Frelimo, its international backers and the proponents of military support say the war is part of a global campaign by the Islamic State group (IS) militant group that might spread to South Africa.

In fact, this is a civil war in Cabo Delgado driven by growing poverty and inequality. From Boko Haram in Nigeria to insurgents in Cabo Delgado, Isis has tagged on to local insurgencies driven by inequality and marginalisation, only adding a bit of publicity and aid. And it is pleased to see the global panic, which builds its brand.

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: 20 AUGUST  2020

Johan Viljoen

Attacks on the Church continue. On Sunday 16 August, during a press conference announcing the electrification of government buildings in rural areas, President Nyusi criticized foreigners living in Cabo Delgado, who were undermining security in the name of protecting human rights. Although nobody was mentioned by name, it was followed up almost immediately by a Facebook post by Gustavo Mavie, widely circulated, saying that the Bishop had a political agenda, and accusing him of providing support to insurgents – see https://facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10223280252014527&id=1231517071

Civil society and human rights activists reacted swiftly. Social media commentator Elvino Dias, in an article titled “Please don’t kill our Bishop” pointed out that the killing of Professor Gilles Cistac was also preceded by similar attacks on social media by an individual calling himself “Kalado Kalashinicov”, before the Professor was assassinated by death squads. 

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: 13 August 2020

Johan Viljoen

The most recent offensive by insurgents in Cabo Delgado culminated in the capture and occupation of the important and strategic port of Mocímboa da Praia, on Tuesday night, 11 August 2020, several local sources reported to Voice of America (VOA). The insurgents took control of the town after almost five days of clashes, which started on August 5, between them and the Mozambican Navy (Marines), who defended the port, until they ran out of ammunition.

The Islamic State group posted images of killed members of the Mozambican  Defense and Security Forces (SDS) on its communication channels, as well as weapons and ammunition captured in two barracks in Mocímboa da Praia. 

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: 31 July 2020

Johan Viljoen

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is preparing to be deployed in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, according to reports published on www.africaintelligence.com on 29 July, and on https://plataformamedia.com/2020/07/30/exercito-sul-africano-preparado-para-entrar-em-cabo-delgado/

On 30 July 2020. It is reported that SANDF units have been undergoing training at Walmannsthal, north of Pretoria, since the beginning of July. According to General Mankayi, the SANDF is preparing for a mission of two months, to “stabilize the region”. This despite the fact that the government of Mozambique has not yet publicly requested assistance from the SANDF. 

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: 6 July 2020

Johan Viljoen

Mocimboa Da Praia is situated in Cabo Delgado, approximately 250 km north of Pemba, the provincial capital. It has a population of approximately 20 000 people.  It is the closest town to the offshore gas fields (where Total has invested US$23 billion in offshore operations. See https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-05/africa-s-biggest-investment-takes-shape-under-islamist-threat?sref=d39KtWbu  ). The town has repeatedly come under attack by Islamic insurgents, who occupied it on 23 March this year and hoisted the ISIS flag, before being repelled by government armed forces. 

The town came under attack again during the last weekend of June 2020. Fighting raged for three days, before insurgents were repelled by government troops. By the time the fighting ended, the town had been almost completely destroyed. A week later, Mocimboa da Praia was still without water, electricity or cell phone networks. 

The Catholic Church was  completely destroyed by fire, caused by insurgents piling up all the wooden benches and pews inside the Church, and setting them on fire. 

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