Denis Hurley Peace Institute Supports Archdiocese of Nampula

DHPI staff member Lelis Quintanilla arrived in Nampula on Wednesday 17 March and is now based there, supporting the Archdiocese of Nampula in providing humanitarian support to the IDP’s from Cabo Delgado.

On Thursday 18 March the Archdiocese distributed emergency food supplies to the displaced at Anchillo – 530 families received, many of whom had been surviving by eating grass. Due to the constant increase in new arrivals, many could not be provided.

See Photo’s Below:

On Friday 19 March the IDP settlement at Corrane was visited. Ms Quintanilla reports harrowing scenes of deprivation – no food, no water, inadequate shelters and no medical supplies. Many IDP’s planted crops, which did not grow due to the ongoing drought. The Health Centre has run out of medication – there is no medication for malaria, and treatment for dehydration has expired. She met an 18 year old mother who is suffering from breast cancer, but cannot access treatment. Her 8 months old son is severely malnourished, with no food and no milk.

Photo’s Below: the Health Centre at Corrane

Photo’s Below: Lelis Quintanilla in Corrane

Dyck Advisory Group Suspends Aerial Operations Following Amnesty International Report

In a recent report from 2 March 2021, Amnesty International has accused DAG of firing on civilians, leading to injuries and deaths. “Fighters (insurgents) routinely kill civilians, loot their homes and burn them (properties) down using petrol”. In a report titled “what I saw is death”, Amnesty says they have interviewed a number of people and verifiable sources who say they have been abused by both insurgents and forces linked to the government. According to Amnesty, there are videos and photos showing attempted beheadings, torture and other ill-treatment of prisoners, the dismemberment of alleged Al-Shabaab fighters, possible extrajudicial executions, and the transport and discarding of a large number of corpses into apparent mass graves. There are videos received that identify joint security forces in their uniforms as well as by speaking Portuguese and local languages from Southern Mozambique, which is out of place in Cabo Delgado.

Lionel Dyck, DAG’s founder, says they have contracted an independent law firm, Gillan and Veldhuizen, to investigate and compile a report on allegations against them, saying “we take these allegations very seriously and we are going to put an independent legal team in there shortly to do a board of inquiry and look at what we are doing”. In light of these allegations, and while awaiting the legal report, Dyck has decided to suspend the air support offered by DAG in the north of the country, particularly Cabo Delgado, and focus more on their original contract of anti-poaching in the national parks in the south. The helicopters that were retro fitted with machine guns and grenade launchers will in the meantime be grounded and stripped of the extra equipment, and its staff redeployed away from Cabo Delgado to better aid it in its anti-poaching initiatives.

Situation Update

Fighting continued in Nangade district last week, as local militias joined the battle to prevent the district capital from being isolated. On 10 March, a local militia drawn from Nangade district residents killed eight insurgents in the district.

On 7 March, insurgents attacked a border post in Nonje, about four kilometers outside of Nangade town. Roughly 50 border police stationed there fled, but only 19 had arrived in Nangade town as of 12 March. Some of those who made it to Nangade town were treated for injuries sustained in the fighting. The same day, insurgents attacked Chacamba, located about 13 kilometers northeast of Nangade town. No casualty estimates from that attack are available, but the village is now deserted.

Insurgents also attacked on 7 March at Namuembe, roughly 30 kilometers south of Nangade town. There, insurgents burned and looted homes, remaining in the town until the morning of 8 March. As in Chacamba, most residents fled to Nangade town.

US Involvement

ACLED reported as follows on the naming of ISIS-Mozambique by the US State Department, and the identification of its alleged leader:

“Any question as to whether the Biden administration in the United States (US) would continue its predecessor’s engagement with the Mozambican government on security cooperation in Cabo Delgado was answered strongly in the affirmative last week. The State Department announced that it had designated ISIS-Mozambique as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and a Specially Designated Terrorist Group (SDTG) and added the man they called the leader of ISIS-Mozambique — Abu Yasir Hassan — to its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists.

One of the many ways the designations are noteworthy is that the US has become the first government — including the government of Mozambique — to name a leader of the Islamic State in Mozambique.

To this point, however, they have been slow to share that insight. The only pieces of information revealed about Hassan in the designations are that he is a Tanzanian national, born between 1981 and 1983, who also goes by the names Yaseer Hassan and Abu Qasim. In a call with reporters, State Department officials declined to provide more information about Hassan, nor offer any explanation for how they concluded he was the leader of ISIS-Mozambique. Tanzanian officials have also offered little, although they appear more mystified by the designation than tight-lipped. Tanzania’s Inspector General of Police, Simon Sirro, told reporters that his office was aware of a man with the same name as Hassan who was involved in Islamist militancy, but that the man was already dead.

The designations also clarify the framework through which the Biden administration sees the conflict in Cabo Delgado. Designating ISIS-Mozambique an SDTG requires the Secretary of State to determine that the organization has “committed, or pose[s] a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of US nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the US.” Such a determination categorizes the conflict in Cabo Delgado not as a local conflict in need of local solutions but as a theater in the US-led struggle against IS. Indeed, State Department officials were quick to claim that “the evidence of ties between the ISIS branch or network in Mozambique and the so-called ISIS-Core in Iraq and Syria is quite incontrovertible.”Again, however, US officials offered no hint as to what that evidence might be”.

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