10 January 2019

Mozambique: Eight Insurgent Camps Destroyed, Say Police

Maputo — The General Commander of the Mozambican police, Bernadino Rafael, in an interview with Mozambique Television (TVM) on Wednesday, claimed that the defence and security forces have destroyed eight camps used by terrorist groups in the northern province of Cabo Delgado for training purposes and for preparing their attacks.

Rafael gave few details but urged the public to collaborate with the police and the armed forces. He promised that the authorities will do all in their power to return peace and stability to those Cabo Delgado districts affected by the insurgency, believed to be the work of Islamic fundamentalists.

Since the attacks began, in October 2017, the terrorists have killed about 150 people, the great majority of them civilians. The latest attack, last Sunday was against a passenger transport vehicle in Nangade district, in which the driver and six passengers were murdered.

Meanwhile, the police have confirmed that journalist Amade Abubacar, illegally detained in Macomia town last Saturday, is under detention in the military barracks in Mueda, about 90 kilometres from Macomia.

Members of Abubacar's family, cited in Thursday's issue of the independent daily "O Pais", said the Macomia district police command had confirmed his transfer to Mueda.

"The police in Macomia have confirmed the detention of my son, and his whereabouts, which is the Mueda military barracks", said the journalist's father, Abubacar Artur, "but they didn't say why he was detained".

Artur has not seen or spoken to his son since Saturday, and has no idea whether he is indeed in Mueda, or what his state of health is.

Artur ws also angered by the silence of his son's employer, the state-owned Mass Communications Institute (ICS). The ICS owns the Nacedje community radio in Macomia where Abubakar worked.

"Since he was detained, the family has tried to speak with my son's colleagues, both in Macomia and in Pemba (the Cabo Delgado provincial capital), but up until now, they are all silent", said Artur. "This makes us think that the ICS management knows what is happening, otherwise they would at least try to find out where he is, since he hasn't appeared for work since Saturday".

Both the ICS Cabo Delgado delegation and the provincial police spokesperson claim they do not know and cannot speak about the case.

According to eye-witnesses, Abubacar was detained while he was photographing the arrival in Macomia town of families fleeing from insurgent attacks in the interior of the district. Nothing in Mozambican law forbids reporters (or anybody else) from taking photographs in public places, even when the subject matter might embarrass the authorities.

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