Maputo — The General Commander of the Mozambican police, Bernadino Rafael, has guaranteed that no project under way in the northern province of Cabo Delgado will be paralysed because of the armed attacks launched in several districts since October 2017, according to a report in Friday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias".
Meeting on Thursday with representatives of private security companies, he dismissed as "disinformation" reports circulating, mostly outside the country, which claim that foreigners working for multinational corporations in Cabo Delgado should leave the province.
Rafael said there is no reason for alarm because the Mozambican defence and security forces are present on the ground, guaranteeing security and ensuring the normal functioning of public and private institutions.
"There is no alteration of order capable of paralysing national development", he declared. "The defence and security forces will never allow that to happen. There is no part of our national territory where Mozambicans or foreign citizens are at risk of evacuation".
Rafael pledged that the instability that has occurred in parts of the province "will not bring any project to a halt. The defence and security forces are working and are guaranteeing the full implementation of all projects for the sustainable development of our country".
Rafael asked all the private security companies to collaborate in sharing information which can improve performance in guaranteeing public order and security.
"We should be careful about the false information being spread about our country", he urged. "It's false and premeditated. There is no part of our country which cannot be reached by a Mozambican or a foreigner. We should be attentive to the wave of disinformation about what is happening in the north of Cabo Delgado. So we invite tourists to visit our country, because we are working so that nothing can stop them".
But the terrorist attacks in Cabo Delgado, believed to be the work of islamic fundamentalists, have already affected tourism. The independent television station STV reports that tourists are cancelling reservations made months ago in the island resorts of the Quirimbas Archipelago, off the Cabo Delgado coast - even though there have been no attacks at all on any of the islands. Tourist operators now face a struggle to convince potential clients that the islands are safe and have not been affected by any insurgency.
One operator on Ibo island, Ana Rodrigues, told reporters "tourists don't like being in unsafe places, so this year they are cancelling reservations, including on Ibo island, even though the attacks are not happening here. We always transmit information that the islands are not under attack, but only a few tourists are keeping their reservations to spend the coming festive season here".
The administrator of Ibo district, Issa Tarmomade, said "as soon as the tourists heard about the attacks, they cancelled their reservations. If it wasn't for the disinformation about the attacks, the islands would be receiving lots of tourists, which would be good for the local economy".
But attacks are continuing against villages on the mainland. According to Friday's issue of the independent newssheet, "Carta de Mocambique", insurgents attacked the village of Cogolo, in Macomia district, shortly after 20.00 on Wednesday night.
The raid was a rapid affair lasting for no more than five minutes. But in that period the terrorists shot one man dead, set fire to six houses, and looted a stall.
There had been a camp of the defence and security forces in Cogolo, but it was moved to a position three kilometres outside the village three days before the attack. The insurgents took advantage of this move to launch their raid and withdraw before the defence forces had time to react.
"Carta de Mocambique" reports that some youths associated with the insurgency had built a hut in Cogolo which they called their mosque. Angry local people destroyed this hut because it was used to spread messages inciting violence.