1. Cabo Delgado: “The risk of attack in Pemba should not be minimized”


Emilio Beula of the Center for Democracy and Development (CDD) warns that Pemba may be in the insurgents’ crosshairs. Activist says it is necessary to inform people, who “are panic”, not to aggravate situation. In Cabo Delgado there is already talk of a “new wave of attacks” after recent episodes of violence in the Ancuabe region. On Thursday (16.06), visiting the district, the President of the Republic, Filipe Nyusi, assured that the joint forces are intensifying patrols to return tranquility to the region.

The Mozambican non-governmental organization Center for Democracy and Development (CDD) said it was “predictable” that armed groups would attack southern Cabo Delgado after being expelled from the northern districts.

Emílio Beula of the CDD points out that the Government should not underestimate the latest insurgent movements and warns of the risk of further attempts to assault the Mieze jail to free violent extremists. “ It’s cause for concern, yes. The attacks are already having an effect on the humanitarian field. There are more than 10,000 people displaced. It should be remembered that Ancuabe, which was the first southern district to be attacked, concentrates the largest camps for displaced people.

“The second point that makes these attacks of great concern is that, despite the official narrative saying that extremists and terrorists are fleeing, no one knows where they are fleeing. The risk of Nampula’s expansion of violent extremism, especially in that coastal area, is greater. We also know that with the Cabo Delgado attacks, it appears that drug traffickers coming from Pakistan migrated from the coast of Cabo Delgado and descended on Nampula, especially to Angoche.

“More displaced people are fleeing to Pemba. The attacks now take place within a radius of approximately 100 kilometers from the city of Pemba. In the north, there was an interruption of the great Project of Total Energies, but in the south also there were interrupted projects. We have graphite projects that have been suspended. We have the Metoro Solar Power Plant project, which has also been suspended. Montepuez Ruby Mining, which is the subsidiary of British company Gemfields and which operates rubies in Montepuez, did not suspend operations, but reduced travel and expressed, through a statement, concern about the approach of the attacks. Therefore, while in the north there is a relative calm and the displaced are already being transferred from Quitunda to the municipal village of “The approach to the city of Pemba is, yes, a risk that there will be attacks on the city of Pemba. On Tuesday night (14.06), 20 kilometers from the city of Pemba, two houses were burned, two vehicles were burned, and precisely in Mieze, site of the largest prison in Cabo Delgado. In this jail is where violent extremists are detained. Some are indicted, others have been charged and others are serving time. It must also be remembered that in 2020, the Government itself confirmed that there were two attempts to assault Mieze jail with the aim of freeing violent extremists. Therefore, there is a risk of attacks in Pemba and it has always existed. It shouldn’t be minimized.

“The first thing the government has to do is share information. More than the attacks themselves, the big problem that is happening right now is the lack of information. People are running away. People don’t know exactly what’s going on. They’re panicking. It’s not worth keeping quiet. It is not worth minimizing, it is necessary to inform people.

The second thing is that we need to assist people who are fleeing. People are running away on foot, they don’t know where they’re going, they don’t have anything on their hands… And it’s cold. They don’t have any food. There’s no one from the government. There are no humanitarian agencies there to support people.

“The third thing is that we need to take these threats seriously. The government discourse is that they are small groups that are fleeing and hungry… But they’re killing people during the escape; are burning villages during the escape; are fleeing; and are causing new waves of displaced people. You need to contain these groups. That’s done with information. Therefore, the Government has to be more communicative, it has to collaborate with communities, it has to win the trust of communities. If the extremists have indeed crossed into Nampula, the risk of what happened in Cabo Delgado is greater, that we have so many communities not to cooperate with the Defense and Security Forces”.

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