Maputo — The purpose of the insurgency in parts of the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado is to set up an independent state, guided by "radical islamism", according to the Provincial Attorney's Office in its charge sheet against 26 captured insurgents.
According to the summary of the case against the 26, sent to the media by the Attorney's office, and published on Wednesday by the independent newssheet "Mediafax", the state the islamists dream of would consist of the northern districts of Cabo Delgado plus the southern part of Tanzania.
The 26 accused will be tried in three batches - 17 in one case, three in another and six in the third. The charges they face include first degree murder, the use of prohibited weapons, crimes against the organisation of the state, incitement to collective disobedience, and membership of a criminal association.
Through their actions, the document said, the islamists were attempting to create instability and prevent members of the public from attending the national health and education services.
The note said that "as their modus operandi, the accused resorted to firearms and other weapons, to behead and mutilate the bodies of their victims, to the destruction of houses and buildings of public utility, and to the theft of crops and domestic animals, imposing terror on the population".
Most of the 26 are Mozambican citizens, mainly from Cabo Delgado and the neighbouring province of Nampula. But the group also includes nationals of Tanzania and Burundi. Three of the Mozambican accused are women.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister, Atanásio M'tumuke, has claimed that the actions of the insurgents are now confined to three districts in Cabo Delgado - namely Palma, Macomia and Mocimboa da Praia.
Speaking at a meeting drawing up a balance sheet of the actions of the Mozambican Armed Forces, M'tumuke said the insurgents' movements have been restricted thanks to the "vigorous action" of the defence and security forces, which have been able to defend the country and protect the population.
Despite the supposed confinement of the islamists to three districts, the fight against the insurgents remains a challenge for the defence forces. "So we urge that, despite the adversities we face, this scenario should be reversed in order to restore public order and security in that region, and to maintain an environment of stability", said the Minister.