The two men’s mission, according to the police, was to monitor the movement of the Defence and Security Forces and convey the information to terrorists. The authorities say they also worked on recruiting young people.
C. Assane (age 38) and D. Manel (42)have been detained on suspicion of belonging to the group of terrorists creating instability in districts in the province of Cabo Delgado, in northern Mozambique.
Manel, a native of Memba district in Nampula and a resident of Montepuez, says that his brother-in-law requested the information over the phone, information that he says he refused to provide, even in the face of persistence.
“I received the second call from [my brother-in-law], asking me about movement in the village of Montepuez. I replied that I did not work for the State and that I would not be able to say what the State’s plan was. He said: ‘[That information there], you should ask a person integrated in the State,” Manel reported.
Manuel also says his brother-in-law asked him about the any young people who might be interested in joining the terrorist movement lunching attacks in northern Cabo Delgado.
“He asked me if I knew any young people who want to join Al-Shabaab. I said I didn’t know anyone. I was arrested for communicating with the bandits,” he argues.
Assane, a trader who worked in both the city of Pemba and the village of Mocímboa da Praia, was said to be linked to the insurgents through a Tanzanian citizen, who proposed that he should join their ranks on the promise of wealth. He claims to have refused any such proposal.
“He asked me: ‘Why are you suffering going to the islands [to do trade]? Do you not want money? If you want money, you must join this group,” the suspect recounted.
Movement of FDS
Assane acknowledges sharing information about military movements with a Tanzanian citizen, an alleged member of the terrorist group.
“He called and asked me if there were soldiers in Metuge, to which I said yes, there were soldiers there. The other day, he called me to ask if I had seen helicopters flying over. I said, ‘Yes, I saw two helicopters flying over,” he admits.
The police have no doubt concerning the involvement of the two individuals, saying that the neutralisation of the alleged collaborators resulted from an operation that relied on public cooperation.
“One is being detained in the city of Pemba and the other in Montepuez. Each was tasked with providing information regarding the positioning and movement of Defence and Security Forces to terrorists with a view to them carrying out their forays, as well as in the process of recruiting young people into the ranks of the terrorists,” spokesman for the Police of the Republic of Mozambique in Cabo Delgado, Ernesto Mudungue, says.
Other districts at risk?
Was the detention of informants in Pemba and Montepuez a sign that the two districts would be targeted by insurgents, police authorities were asked.
“We do not rule out the possibility that they have been doing everything they can to source information anywhere, with a view to destabilising the province,” Mudungue said. “What we have been doing is not minimising any district. We are doing everything we can to guarantee security throughout our province.”
Asked about the current situation in Mocímboa da Praia, Ernesto Mudungue said: “At this moment, we have the movement of our forces there, in order to restore normality.”