1. HRW Report Confirms Sharp Increase in Cabo Delgado Violence

Human Rights Watch Confirmed on 17 March 2022 what DHPI has been reporting since January – that there has been a constant increase in attacks on civilians in Cabo Delgado, despite pronouncements by Pres. Ramaphosa and the Rwandan Ministry of Defence that the province had been “stabilized”. See Violence Increases in Northern Mozambique | Human Rights Watch (hrw.org)

This year, attacks by insurgents in Cabo Delgado have led to a spike in abductions and destroyed homes. The violence displace people in a region where more than 700,000 have fled their homes since the insurgency began four years ago. During the first week of March, insurgents killed at least 15 civilians in the villages of Mbuidi, Malamba, and Nangõmba, just one kilometre away from Nangade town, the district headquarters. In February, insurgents attacked at least eight villages across Cabo Delgado, completely burning down five of them. Two men who found dead bodies in their farms said that residents of Nangade have been living in fear since these incidents and that they stopped going to their fields.

The armed conflict has exacerbated already severe food shortages in Cabo Delgado, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. It is one of four Mozambican provinces with the most people experiencing acute food insecurity.

Government forces have also been implicated in serious abuses, including unnecessarily restricting displaced people’s movement and beating and mistreating them.

The violence in Nangade and other Cabo Delgado districts highlights the need for Mozambican authorities to prioritize civilian protection and safeguard livelihoods across the beleaguered province. The authorities should ensure that people fleeing violence can find safe refuge with adequate access to basic services, far from areas of combat. It also confirms local perceptions that the Rwandan forces are there primarily to protect French economic interests and not the civilian population.


 

2. Portuguese President Admits to Arming Mozambican Military

The President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, on 17 March 2022 admitted that in addition to military training there is support to reequip Mozambican troops that are being trained to combat the insurgency in Cabo Delgado.

In a joint press conference, after his counterpart, Filipe Nyusi, asked for more means, in a meeting between the two in the Presidency of the Mozambican Republic, Marcelo de Sousa said that “it is important that this training be accompanied by the appropriate capabilities to the implementation of the objective”.

“I had the audacity to talk to the President about the need to work also on the re-equipment of this personnel,” said Nyusi. “Training, yes”, but more means are needed, something that “the European Union (EU) is also considering,” Nyusi said, recalling recent talks he held in Brussels. “It was clear what was said,” Marcelo replied, adding that Nyusi’s request “naturally deserves Portuguese support.” Combating terrorism in Cabo Delgado is a “very sensitive area,” he added, given that “the sovereignty of the Mozambican state in the face of a situation of terrorism is at stake.”

During the official visit to Mozambique and as part of bilateral military cooperation, the Portuguese head of state will visit the Mozambican Marine School and, as part of European military cooperation, will also meet the national contingent at the two EUTM training centres in Catembe and Chimoio.

Above: Filipe Nyusi (left) and Marcelo de Sousa

 

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