1. Chief of SA National Defence Force Visits Cabo Delgado

General Rudzani Maphwanya, the Chief of the South African National Defense Force, paid a visit to the SAMIM troops in Mozambique, at the end of June. From 21-23 June, a delegation, comprising of the General, Major General Ntakaleleni Sigudu, and South African Defense Attaché to Mozambique, Colonel Petronella Nkambule, visited the troops in Cabo Delgado. They were welcomed by Professor Ambassador Mpho Molomo, as well as SAMIM Force Commander, Major General Xolani Mankayi. The delegation also proceeded to the SAMIM Force Headquarters, whereby the Head of Mission and Force Commander gave a briefing on the state of security and safety in the region of Cabo Delgado. The visit was also to assess challenges that might be faced as the deployment of the SAMIM troops has been downgraded from a scenario ^ (rapid deployment capability), to a scenario 5 (multidimensional force), and to tackle how to handle those challenges and make the troop deployment more efficient. General Maphwanya congratulated the troops on their efforts and successes thus far in routing the insurgents and returning the north of Mozambique to relative peace, in a reasonably short space of time.


2. Children bear The Brunt Of New Displacements

Close to 30 000 children in northern Cabo Delgado have been displaced in the month of June, due to fresh insurgent attacks in the region. According to British NGO Save the Children, more than 50 000 adults and children have had to flee their homes, and about 53 people killed. According to a statement by Brechtjie van Lith, the country director for Mozambique: “This has been the worst month for families and children in Cabo Delgado in a year…and yet this is not the first time they are going through this- many are experiencing violence for the umpteenth time with no end in sight. Many of them have lost loved ones or witnessed horrors that no child or adult should ever need to see.”


3. Italian President Praises “Precious” Cooperation in Mozambique

Italian PR met with its Mozambican counterpart in Maputo to discuss gas supply as Rome seeks to reduce its dependence on Russia. Support for Cabo Delgado was also on the agenda.

The President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, praised the energy cooperation between the two countries during the visit on Tuesday (05.07), which anticipated the opening of an offshore gas project managed by the Italian energy company Eni, in northern Mozambique.

“The start of the export of liquefied natural gas from the Coral-Sul plant, managed by Eni, is an important milestone that testifies to how precious our collaboration is,” Mattarella said at a press conference in Maputo, according to a statement published on the Italian Presidency’s website.

Coral-Sul, the first floating platform of liquefied natural gas (LNG) deployed in deep waters off Africa, arrived in Mozambique in early January. Once operational, it can produce 3.4 million tons of LNG per year.

Last month, with the start of the extraction, Eni said the platform was “ready to reach its first LNG cargo” in the second half of 2022, despite the terrorist threat in northern Mozambique.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has injected urgency into efforts around the world to develop new energy sources as Western countries try to reduce their dependence on Russian gas. Italy, one of Europe’s largest consumers of natural gas, has stepped up diplomatic contacts to secure alternative supplies in recent months. Italy’s head of state, Sergio Mattarela, today expressed his country’s commitment to supporting people affected by armed conflict in the province of Cabo Delgado in northern Mozambique. “Thinking especially of the people of Cabo Delgado, who are being victimised and leaving their regions of origin, we have a duty to accompany it,” said the Italian President.

The Italian head of state says his country will continue to help Mozambique cope with violent extremism, highlighting Italy’s commitment to the European Union’s support for the reconstruction of the affected region and the training of Mozambican forces to deal with the insurgency. In total, the European Union (EU) intends to apply €65 million this year for development projects in northern Mozambique, a package that is part of Mozambique’s broader development support for the period 2021-2027, estimated at at least €428 million for the first four years.


4. Cabo Delgado: Displaced Children Victims of Sexual Abuse

In Cabo Delgado, cases of displaced children who are victims of sexual abuse and early marriages is increasing dramatically. The Attorney General’s Office (PGR) of Mozambique denounces the increase in cases of early marriages in the country, given the vulnerability of internally displaced children in Cabo Delgado. Elda Homo, head of the Gender Department at PGR, does not advance figures but considers the situation worrying. “The situation in Cabo Delgado is not good. Children are being groomed by grown men, who should protect them. [There are] children who are having sex with adult men in Cabo Delgado,” she said.

In addition to these abuses, according to Elda Homo, many children find themselves in a very difficult situation: “The public prosecutor’s office has found situations of children without access to school, with poor medical and medical care, and many of them lack psychological follow-up. These children have been living dark days, do not sleep and have been running for safety,” he said.

She regrets the fact that these cases are not being reported by the press. And in a recent training with journalists, she left an appeal: “We, as communicators, have to report. We have to go to Cabo Delgado to do our job,” he said.

To stop these problems, Elda Homo revealed that the PGR has already “carried out actions to raise awareness of the welcoming families of the displaced, to continue to provide assistance to minors and ensure a healthy coexistence, attentive to their special condition”.

Local media also say it is concerned about sexual abuse and early marriages in Cabo Delgado. The Ikweli newspaper is one of the agencies that has been reporting such situations. Aunício da Silva, journalist and director of the newspaper, even contradicts the PGR, pointing out that government authorities sometimes make a tight control in the reception centers of the displaced and do not facilitate the work to journalists. “Reception centres for displaced people are often monitored and the work of journalists is not well seen by government authorities. So this is the great difficulty we face and this contributes to poor coverage,” he laments. Aunício da Silva accuses the public prosecutor of doing nothing to ensure and facilitate the work of the press. “The PGR itself, being guardian of legality, should know why journalists do not have access to these conflict zones and resettlement zones of the displaced, and this should be clear. There is nothing we can take for involvement in this commitment, we are doing our job as a media outlet and we are there reporting with all the difficulties that impose on us,” he said.


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