Mozambique: Cabo Delgado War Continues

Photo: GCIS
At the signing of the peace deal on August 7, 2019, from left, President Filipe Nyusi, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Renamo leader Ossufo Momade and European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini.

An insurgent group raided a village 9 km from the town of Macomia on 1 August. They burnt most of the houses, but the local people had time to flee and there were no casualties. On 28 July in Demaio, Muidumbe district, farmers returning from their fields were ambushed by insurgents. Two farmers were beheaded and cars were burned.

On 25 July five people were killed in an attack on Cogolo, Macomia; the attackers divided into two groups and one attacked civilians killing two elderly people and a child and burning houses, while the other attacked a military position killing two soldiers. (Carta de Mocambique, 29 July & 5 Aug)

About 9,000 smallholder have abandoned 13,000 hectares of farmland in Mocimboa da Praia district because of the ongoing armed violence in the region, Neves Salaova, of the Mocimboa da Praia District Economic Activities Service told STV on 2 August.

Zitamar has updated its excellent attack map, with 1345 attacks and 380 deaths between 5 October 2017 and 25 July 2019, free on https://zitamar.com/cd-insurgency-attack-locations/

Most of the graduates from the latest course for members of the riot police (Rapid Intervention Unit UIR) will be sent to Cabo Delgado, where they are doing most of the fighting. As part of the slow Renamo demobilisation, 10 Renamo fighters joined the UIR in 2 August. They will now undergo 45 days training. (AIM 2 Aug)

A Mozambican Air Force unarmed executive transport Bell helicopter crashed on 1 August in Muidumbe district, Cabo Delgado, injuring all six occupants. (Noticias, 2 Aug)

Meanwhile a court in Pemba on 31 July sentenced nine Tanzanian and Burundian citizens to 16 year jail terms for conspiracy against the state, attacks on public order and tranquillity, instigation to collective disobedience and membership of a criminal association. Three people, a Mozambican woman and two Tanzanian men, charged serious crimes, including murder and arson, were acquitted for lack of evidence.

Judgement of five others was postponed to allow more investigation. (Noticias 1 Aug, AIM 1 & 5 Aug)

Judge Geraldo Patricio said those convicted had taken part in campaigns to instigate the population to disrespect state institutions, and particularly not to take their children to state schools . They also spread "messages that defended religious fundamentalism". But it was not proved that they had carried forbidden weapons or had committed "heinous crimes" (such as first degree murder).

AIM notes that several hundred alleged insurgents have been captured, and four trials have been held. Three more are planned. But since the testimony was heard behind closed doors, the trials have not thrown much light on the origins and motivations of the insurgency.

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