Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, speaking in his capacity of Commander-in-Chief of the defence and security forces, on Tuesday demanded more vigorous efforts from the army (FADM) in the fight against terrorist groups in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
The insurgents, believed to be inspired by Islamic fundamentalism, launched their military campaign in October 2017. Since then perhaps as many as 300 people have died in their murderous attacks against villages in the northern districts of Cabo Delgado, and thousands of homes have gone up in flames.
There have been repeated claims that the military have the situation under control, but the attacks continue. On Monday night insurgents killed at least a dozen people in the Mbau administrative post of Mocimboa da Praia district, and burnt down houses, shops and the local offices of the ruling Frelimo Party.
At a ceremony in Maputo, where senior FADM officers presented their greetings to Nyusi, as part of the celebrations of the 55th anniversary of the launching of the armed struggle for Mozambican independence, on 25 September 1964, the President stressed how serious the situation in Cabo Delgado had become.
He demanded more energetic action from the FADM, even if that meant that troops had to be retrained in order to deal with the problem.
"We need to concentrate against these attacks", he said. "It is already late to deal with this matter. If necessary, go back to training".
"We don't want politicisation of the armed forces", he added. "We want them to work on the basis of competence and command. The commanders must be in the right place to solve this problem".
"We want your courage in fighting this evil", Nyusi stressed. "Our cause is noble and just, and we should not allow ourselves to be shaken by these macabre acts".
It was urgent to restore effective and sustainable peace throughout the country, he added, as the essential condition for development.
Nyusi also insisted that insurgents captured by the government forces should be presented to the public as evidence that the FADM is taking complaints from the population seriously. "You must present those people whom you catch, because sometime the people think you are not doing anything on the ground", he said.
He promised that the government will give full support to the FADM "to halt this wave of deliberate murders. We must give these criminals the answer they deserve".