A journalist in Cabo Delgado argues that the armed attacks in the north of the country are based on economic and criminal interests, and says that the Mozambican state should ask for external support in face of an “unmistakable” situation.
According to the information released this Thursday (10.09) by Carta de Moçambique, armed men have attacked Vamisse Island, about 9 km from the Afungi Peninsula, in the district of Palma, where a large gas project is being constructed.
Sources cited by several online portals, including Moz24horas, claim that the attack resulted in at least one death, in addition to the destruction of material goods. The group reportedly set fire to some vessels, but the population, according to the portal, managed to escape to the mainland.
DW Africa spoke to Moz24horas editorial director Luís Nhachote, who is also coordinator of the Centre for Investigative Journalism in Mozambique.
DW Africa: What have investigative journalists in Mozambique been able to find out about the latest developments in north-eastern Cabo Delgado?
Luís Nhachote (LN): Since the terrorists took over the port of Mocímboa da Praia, there has been intense fighting to recover this strategic point in Cabo Delgado. The terrorists are still in possession of the port and are now heading to the islands.
DW Africa: What islands are these and what is the interest in these places?
LN: Cabo Delgado has many islands, there are more than a hundred. It is the people who have been sent off the islands that are reporting this. They were told to leave the islands.
DW Africa: Is this the same group of attackers, these going to the islands?
LN: Everything indicates that it is the same group, because the “modus operandi” is the same. Nothing indicates that they are any different. The Interior Minister [Amade Miquidade] has said that these jihadists have cutting-edge technology and use drones. They are buying information and [they are] paying locals. Some of these jihadists are youths who were taken to study Islam in Saudi Arabia and Somalia. DW Africa: You say that these men have logistics and money to pay young people. Is this an indication that there are criminal economic interests?
LN: Yes, most likely, drug and mineral trafficking is fuelling this war. In the news from South Africa this morning [last week] is a truck carrying drugs estimated at more than seven million rand (about €350,000) coming across the border with Mozambique. Cabo Delgado is very big. Pemba Bay itself, which has a naval part, has been reformulated to have boats capable of patrolling the coast. But the boats remain stationary.
DW Africa: Are the security forces in Mozambique able to control the situation or will foreign intervention be necessary?
LN: I think that the situation we are experiencing is unmistakable, and the Mozambican state needs to ask for support from its neighbours. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has a very important role to play in this matter. This was one of the things discussed at the SADC summit, at which President Filipe Nyusi took over the presidency for a year. What was discussed did not come out, but there are several countries in the region, such as Angola, that are willing to support it, if the request is formally made.
Private security groups are supporting the Mozambican army. Foreign mercenaries provide this support. If the Mozambican state can make contracts with these private military security entities, they can also ask for formal support, and I think that costs will even be lower. We don’t even know how much the state is paying these private military contractors.
Source: Deutsche Welle