Tag Archives: Mozambique

Northern Mozambique Massacre: 50 Beheaded

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Witnesses say the assailants herded victims onto a football pitch in the village of Muatide where the killings were carried out.

Police say attackers beheaded and dismembered more than 50 people in northern Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province over the past three days as violence in the area continues.

The ISIL-linked fighters attacked several villages in the districts of Miudumbe and Macomia, killing civilians, abducting women and children and burning down homes, Bernardino Rafael, commander-general of Mozambique’s police said during a media briefing on Monday.

“They burned the houses then went after the population who had fled to the woods and started with their macabre actions,” said Rafael.

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Witnesses told local media the assailants herded residents onto the local football field in the village of Muatide where the killings were carried out.

Security forces in gas-rich Cabo Delgado province have been fighting the armed group – which pledged allegiance to ISIL (ISIS) last year – since 2017.

But some analysts have questioned how serious the ISIL (ISIS) link really is, saying the root of the unrest may be poverty and inequality rather than religion. Little is known about the fighters who call themselves al-Shabab – although they have no known links to the group of that name operating in Somalia.

The unrest has killed more than 2,000 people since 2017 – more than half of them civilians, according to the US-based Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project.

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The violent attacks in Cabo Delgado have triggered a humanitarian crisis with more than 300,000 internally displaced people and 712,000 in need of humanitarian assistance, according to an Amnesty International report released last month.

Shock and grief
Gunmen fired shots and set homes alight when they raided Nanjaba village on Friday night, the state-owned Mozambique News Agency quoted survivors as saying. Two people were decapitated and several women abducted.

A separate group of fighters attacked Muatide village where they beheaded more than 50 people, the news agency reported.

Villagers were chopped to pieces in an atrocity carried out from Friday night to Sunday, NRM reported.

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The dismembered bodies of at least five adults and 15 boys were found on Monday scattered across a forest clearing in Muidumbe district.

“Police learnt of the massacre committed by the insurgents through reports of people who found corpses in the woods,” said an officer in the neighbouring Mueda district who asked not to be named.

“It was possible to count 20 bodies spread over an area of about 500 metres (1,640 feet). These were young people who were at an initiation rite ceremony accompanied by their advisers.”

An aid worker in Mueda, who also declined to be named, confirmed the killings had taken place, saying some of the boys had come from that area. She said body parts had been sent to their families for burial on Tuesday.

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“Funerals were held in an environment of great pain,” said the worker. “The bodies were already decomposing and couldn’t be shown to those present.”

The armed group has stepped up its offensive in recent months and violently seized swathes of territory, terrifying citizens in the process.

In April, attackers shot dead and beheaded more than 50 youths for allegedly refusing to join their ranks.

Cabo Delgado is home to a multibillion-dollar liquefied natural gas project by French multinational Total.


#Newsworthy…

European Union might train forces from Mozambique to help resist Anti-Jihadists.

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Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva asserted his certainty regarding the support the European Union will provide to Mozambique in training its forces in the fight against terrorism — following a letter issued by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Mozambique requesting aid in the anti-jihadist resistance in the country’s volatile Cabo Delgado region which has seen a rise in catastrophic insurgencies the last few years.

In an interview with the LUSA news agency in Bissau, Silva recalls that the European Parliament has already discussed the matter and that there was consensus among the deputies, “As Minister of Foreign Affairs of the country that will occupy the presidency of the Council of the European Union from January, I have already had an opportunity to have a formal meeting with the high representative Josep Borrel and one of the themes was the north of Mozambique, support for Mozambique. Based on all this information, I am sure that the European Union’s response will not be delayed, it will be positive, and naturally, Portugal will contribute to it quickly and positively.”

In a recorded speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi outlined the wave of violent attacks by Islamic extremist groups in the country’s north, “They leave people displaced, destroy housing and socio-economic infrastructure, plunder community goods, keep children and women in captivity. As a result of these phenomena, over a thousand people have been murdered and around 250 thousand people are displaced in other districts within the country.”

The province of the gas-rich Cabo Delgado region in Mozambique has been the backdrop of debilitating armed attacks the last three years by forces classified as Islamist terrorists.


#Newsworthy…

Mozambique will test South Africa’s anti-insurgency skills.

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The audacious attack and occupation of a strategic port in Mozambique’s gas-rich province days before a summit of regional leaders will test southern Africa’s counter-insurgency skills, analysts say.

Extremist fighters attacked the small but key town of Mocimboa da Praia — the third such attack this year alone — culminating in the capture of its port on Wednesday.

Mozambique’s northernmost province of Cabo Delgado, which borders Tanzania, has been ravaged by a jihadist insurgency since October 2017.

But the government waited until April this year to admit the presence of so-called Islamic State militants in the country.

The jihadists have grown bolder in recent months, escalating attacks as part of a campaign to establish an Islamist caliphate.

Analysts hope the violence will be top of the agenda when leaders from 16 southern African countries meet for a routine annual summit on Monday.

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During the summit — to be held virtually due to coronavirus travel restrictions — Mozambique takes over the rotating chairmanship of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) from Tanzania.

SADC should “urgently assist Mozambique to stem the violent insurgency” which has killed more than 1,500 people and displaced at least 250,000, said the Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies (ISS) on Thursday.

It said the upcoming summit presents a “crucial opportunity to take decisive action to help end the crisis”.

– Private military contractors –

In May, SADC’s security unit pledged to help Mozambique tackle the insurgency — one of the toughest challenges southern Africa has faced in recent years.

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But concrete action has yet to be seen.

“It is really time for SADC to intervene,” said Maputo-based activist Adriano Nuvunga, director of Mozambique’s Centre for Democracy and Development.

Struggling to regain control of the strife-torn region, the Mozambican army has hired private military contractors to help, including Russia’s Wagner and the South Africa-based Dyck Advisory Group, according to various researchers.

But analysts say those efforts have been ineffective so far.

“Military action by the Mozambique government, including the continued use of mercenaries, has not stopped the attacks,” the ISS said.

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In a pre-summit meeting on Thursday, Mozambique’s Foreign Minister Veronica Macamo spoke of the “need for consultation and coordination of our actions in combatting terrorism which poses a major threat to our region”.

“Our region faces a threat… in the form of terrorism and violent extremism, which if not contained, has the possibility of spreading” throughout southern Africa, said the minister.

– ‘Regional threat’ –

SADC set up a standby brigade in 2008 to respond to conflict situations.

The force was last deployed to restore security in Lesotho in 2017 following the killing of the kingdom’s top army commander.

If sent to Mozambique, it will be the first time it faces terrorism.

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Independent analyst Jasmine Opperman said the Mozambique insurgency had created a “regional threat” that cannot be ignored.

“But it does not seem that SADC at this point in time is going to go beyond window dressing,” she told AFP, noting that SADC lacked the military and financial might to put boots in Cabo Delgado.

Regional superpowers that could contribute troops such as South Africa are focused on militarily enforcing anti-coronavirus lockdowns.

South Africa also has around 1,000 soldiers serving in a United Nations mission in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Even if regional soldiers were deployed, analysts suggest that would be redundant without tackling local frustrations that fuel the insurgency.

“If those issues are not addressed in the medium to short-term, deployment of soldiers will be nothing more than a plaster over an ulcer that is about to explode,” Opperman warned.

– ‘Gaining momentum’ –

Mozambican security forces have meanwhile been battling to regain control of the port.

Every attack on Mocimboa da Praia is a hindrance for the development of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility on the Afungi peninsula.

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The project, situated 60 kilometres (40 miles) north of the town, relies on its port for supplies.

Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi insists the multi-million dollar gas project — one of the biggest single investments in Africa — is safe.

But the latest attack, according to Nuvunga at Mozambique’s Centre for Democracy and Development, shows an insurgency that is “gaining more ground and momentum” and is a “setback” in development of the gas project.

Experts had hoped the project would turn impoverished Mozambique into one of the world’s leading LNG exporters, creating an African version of Qatar.


#Newsworthy…

2 Nigerians arrested in Mozambique over drugs.


Asting operation carried out by Brazil’s Federal Police, United States drug officials and Interpol, has led to the arrest of two Nigerians and a Brazilian drug baron.

Gilberto Aparecido dos Santos known as Fuminho, has been on the run for over two decades according to officials in Brazil.


Fuminho, who is one of the alleged leaders of the Sao Paulo-based First Capital Command drug gang, is accused of shipping tonnes of cocaine around the world, according to a report.

“The prisoner was considered the largest supplier of cocaine to a gang operating throughout Brazil, as well as being responsible for sending tonnes of the drug to several countries,” a statement from the Brazilian police said.


The Brazilian drug lord and his Nigerian accomplices were picked up at the Montebelo Indy, a luxury hotel in Maputo the Mozambique capital, according to officials in the country.

He landed in the African country in mid-March, spokesperson for the country’s police, Leonardo Simbine, revealed.


A fake Brazilian passport, cannabis, more than a dozen mobile phones and a car were seized during the operation.

The alleged drug runner was also accused of allegedly financing a plot to free the PCC’s leader, Marcos Willians Herbas Camacho, from prison.

Camacho, who is known as Marcola, is serving a sentence of more than 200 years in a maximum- prison in Brazil’s capital, Brasilia.

The gang is seen as the country’s largest and most powerful drug ring.


#Newsworthy…