Locals from the north of Cabo Delgado have consistently said that the narrative of “Islamic Jihad” is a smokescreen – that the real agenda is to drive them off their land, so that the land can be given to prospectors and investors. Their suspicions are not without justification. All land in Mozambique belongs to the State. Those occupying the land are given a “permission to occupy”, know by the Portuguese acronym “DUAT”. The State can withdraw the DUAT of the current occupant at will, and give it to another entity, without giving reasons and without compensation.

A map released by the Mozambican government shows which land has been given on concession to prospectors, investors and mining companies. The map can be found at https://portals.landfolio.com/mozambique/pt/ . Below is a screenshot. It shows that the entire Cabo Delgado (except for nature conservationa areas) as well as the entire Nampula Province (with the exception of the areas around Nampula City) has been given to prospectors and investors. On the map below, all the blue areas are mining and prospecting concessions. The map is interactive – on the website, by clicking on a specific concession, it says who the concession has been granted to.

The implications are disturbing. The entire population of Cabo Delgado, and most of the rural population of Nampula Province, will eventually have to be moved, to make way for prospectors and mining. Reports have been received of displaced persons from the north of Cabo Delgado who have their DUAT’s cancelled when they arrive in Pemba. Further reports were received of displaced persons arriving in Nampula. When they are issued with new DUAT’s, they are told to say that they came from Pemba, not from Palma or Mocimboa da Praia. This means that they will never be able to return to their places of origin, even if the fighting stops.

Whos stands to profiteer from this massive land grab? A study published last week by the Center for Public Integrity (CIP) concluded that Raimundo Domingos Pachinuapa, a veteran of the national liberation struggle and a Frelimo member, and Asghar Fakhraleali hold the largest number of mining concessions in Cabo Delgado province. Overall, the study looks for the real “lords of mining exploration licenses in Cabo Delgado” and found that the company Mwiriti Mining, Limitada., legally owned by Raimundo Domingos Pachinuapa (60%) and Asghar Fakhraleali (40%), presents ranked as the company with the largest number of mining concessions in Cabo Delgado, 7%.

“The second company with the largest concessions, 4% of the total, is Cabo Delgado Inertes e Minerais, Sociedade Unipessoal, Limitada, owned by Macara Samido. Concessions from Mwiriti Mining, Limited. are intended for the exploration of gold in the district of Montepuez and the concessions of Cabo Delgado Inertes and Minerals, Sociedade Unipessoal, Limitada are intended for the exploration of construction stone and sand in the districts of Palma, Mecufi, Pemba and Metuge”, reports the study. However, CIP’s investigation noted that Mwiriti Mining, Lda. has indirect stakes in other projects, such as the exploration of Rubi, through Montepuez Rubi Mining.

In its research, that civil society organization counted 113 mining concessions in Cabo Delgado, held by 83 companies. Of the total concessions, the report states that the company Mwiriti Mining Limitada holds eight mining concessions, which means that it alone controls 7% of the total concessions in the province of Cabo Delgado.

For CIP, this scenario indicates the significant power Mwiriti Mining Limitada in the mining concessions market, which can be harmful to the entire sector. “If a company in a group of 83 has power over the market, it can influence its dynamics at its own pleasure, to the detriment of the country and its interests are confused with the interests of all those involved in the sector”, criticizes the CIP in a report .

Even so, the study reveals that a considerable part of the companies identified have their tax domicile in Mauritius, a country considered a tax haven. This is even the case of companies Mwiriti Mining, Limitada, Raimundo Domingos Pachinuapa and Asghar Fakhraleali with registration outside Mozambique

“This form of action may reveal a deliberate intention to hide their identity in relation to their interests in the exploration of mining resources that may arise from conflicts of interest already provided for in the law of public probity and, as a way of circumventing, they choose to register the companies outside Mozambique”, concludes the study.

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