Maputo — The Mozambican police on Friday presented to the press in the northern city of Nampula three Ugandan citizens, two men and one woman, suspected of being senior figures in the terrorist organisation that has been waging a low-level insurgency in the neighbouring province of Cabo Delgado.
The provincial police spokesperson, Zacarias Nacuti, said the three had been captured in the Cabo Delgado district of Mocimboa da Praia, and sent to Nampula where they are being interrogated.
He said the information obtained from these prisoners "has allowed the defence and security forces to overrun some camps which the criminals used as bases for their incursions".
The leader of the three was named as Abdul Rahman Faisal. He and the other two prisoners were in possession of documents identifying them as Ugandan citizens.
Faisal told reporters he is an electrotechnical engineer, and a leader of the Al Shabaab terrorist group in Uganda. He denied coming to Mozambique to take part in any terrorist attacks.
"I am from Al Shabaab of Uganda", he said. "We came to Mozambique to look for Mansour and Abdul Aziz who was my subordinate". Abdul Aziz, he said, had been his subordinate in Uganda, but the last time he had seen him was in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Nothing more is known about this man, or about Mansour.
"I received the mission to come to Mozambique to look for him (Abdul Aziz) because he is involved in crimes", he said. "We are not part of those people who go around committing murder. I don't support them".
"We would like to help solve this situation, because in the end I'm part of the problem", added Faisal. "We would like to ask the others to stop making attacks".
The police do not believe this story, Nacuti said Faisal's statements were just an attempt to evade responsibility for his acts.