Vatican Radio

An interview with the Director of the Denis Hurley peace Institute regarding the situation in Cabo Delgado was broadcast on Vatican Radio on 2 November. Listen to the podcast on the link below:

Featuring DHPI J. Viljoen interview about Cabo Delgado

Cabo Delgado Update

On 19 October, insurgents entered Koko, Macomia district, kidnapping one civilian and burning several homes. The attackers returned the next day but were met by government troops. The insurgents retreated after a firefight.

On 20 October, the same day as the attack on Koko, insurgents also carried out two attacks just to the south in Meluco district. The attacks on Nangororo and Roma — both of which, like Koko, sit on the N380 — did not produce any casualties, though civilians fled toward Macomia town to avoid further violence.

Insurgents also arrived on Ilha Matemo, Ibo district on 20 October, traveling in two motor boats. While on the island, the attackers killed one man for having a non-Islamic haircut and kidnapped several others, mostly young people. An eyewitness reported that some of the insurgents spoke Kimwani with a Mocimboa da Praia accent. While the insurgents were onshore on Ilha Matemo, Dyck Advisory Group (DAG) helicopters arrived and destroyed the motor boats the insurgents had taken from the mainland to the island. This forced the insurgents to stay the night on Matemo, then attempt to leave early the next morning in local boats. Two of those boats were then also destroyed while at sea by DAG helicopters, killing an unknown number of insurgents and civilian hostages. The Noticias de Defesa published photos of burning boats purporting to be those destroyed near Ilha Matemo and claimed that the operation had killed 34 insurgents and injured 69. The report acknowledged that civilian hostages were also killed, but did not specify how many.

On 21 October, insurgents struck across Mozambique’s northern border once again, attacking the Tanzanian border post of Kilambo, about 30 kilometers east of Kitaya, the site of an earlier attack on 14 October. Tanzanian forces repelled the Kilambo attack. No casualties have been reported.

On 31 October the villages of Ntchinga, Namacande and Muidumbe were attacked by insurgents.

Numerous reports this week underline the increasingly dire situation for displaced civilians in Cabo Delgado. In addition to the attacks there, deaths due to diarrhoea on Ilha Matemo surpassed 20 last week, according to a source.

Bishop Luiz Fernando Lisboa estimates that Pemba is now home to over 80,000 displaced people. With new refugees arriving daily, he said “we foresee… a city completely flooded with people without the necessary sanitary and physical response.”

President Nyusi visited Cabo Delgado last week, touring conflict-affected areas and giving a speech to government troops. In his speech to security forces, he promised that new reinforcement was on its way to the front and praised the commitment of the deployed troops. A source reported that the promised reinforcement most likely refers to armored personnel carriers acquired from South Africa that recently arrived at Maputo.

Nyusi’s trip was preceded by a less positive visit from Francisco Quiasse Madiquida, the UIR (the Rapid Intervention Unit) chief. Madiquida harshly criticized certain UIR members in Pemba for refusing to patrol in the city, accusing them of being greedier than they are patriotic. Following Madiquida’s speech, the police who had refused to patrol were arrested and sent to prison in Mieze, Metuge district. The UIR mutiny is another instance in a pattern of dissatisfaction among UIR personnel deployed in Cabo Delgado.

For the first time, the Mozambican Government has acknowledged that there are private military companies that are operating side by side with the Defense and Security Forces (FDS) in the fight in Cabo Delgado. The acknowledgement was made on Wednesday, October 28, by the Minister of the Interior, Amade Miquidade, in response to questions asked by Renamo’s bench during the Government Information session to the Assembly of the Republic.

Miquidade used the euphemism “security consultants” to refer to the mercenaries of the Dyck Advisory Group (DAG) and justified his intervention by stating that the new economic actors who entered Cabo Delgado have specific security dynamics. “The continuity of these investments demands specialized security in means that we do not have and, in any part of the world where they operate, this component is attributed to specific groups, the security consultants”, he said.

Sources stationed in the city of Pemba, the provincial capital of Cabo Delgado, said on 28 October that the Police of the Republic of Mozambique (PRM) is now preventing the recording of images [photos and videos] of displaced people arriving in Pemba, while they disembark in Paquitequete beach there.

According to “Carta de Moçambique” sources, the decision allegedly aims at preventing images of the humanitarian drama from being disseminated internationally. Meanwhile, volunteers on-site characterise the ban as “strange”, because, in their view, the videos and photographs allow the country and the world to grasp the scale of what is happening in that part of the country.

It is reported that about 150 vessels, transporting close to 12,000 IDPs from the areas most affected by the conflict  (Macomia, Quissanga and some islands in the Quirimbas Archipelago), arrived in the city of Pemba between the 16th and 27th of October. This number does not include IDPs arriving in Pemba overland, some of whom arrive on foot

Photo Below: Refugees on Paquitequete Beach, Pemba

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