Maputo — Nampula (Mozambique), 10 Feb (AIM) - The Mozambican police have prevented the recruitment, supposedly for illegal mining activities in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, of 36 youths who were picked up in Erati district, in the neighbouring province of Nampula.
The secretary of state for Nampula, Mety Gondola, presented the youths publicly on Sunday at a meeting in their home neighbourhood of Muhaivire, in Nampula City.
Police sources told AIM that they had decided to send the youths home because they were not convinced by the story that they were going to mine for precious stones. They clearly feared that the real purpose of this recruitment was to press-gang the youths into the islamist insurgency which has been underway in several Cabo Delgado districts since October 2017.
At the Muhaivire meeting, Gondola urged parents and community and religious leaders not to allow young men to leave home on the basis of unclear promises of employment.
"I ask you to pay attention to the way in which young people are recruited here with promises of jobs", he said. "We know about the activities of the insurgents in Cabo Delgado, and these youths might have been taken for use on the battlefield, where anything can happen".
Whenever there are offers of jobs outside Nampula province, parents should always seek advice from the local community and religious leaderships, Gondola urged.
"When your sons tell you about job offers, don't let them run risks", he said. "Consult the local leaderships, who will be able to inform you about these jobs. The families should know with certainty where these young people are being taken".
Gondola urged communities to remain vigilant so that people are not deceived. "Let's unite around this problem", he declared. "These people who are recruiting youths, they make false job promises and tell lies".
Turning to the youths picked up in Erati, Gondola urged them to "take care. Today, you are going back home without problems, but if in future you become involved in the same kind of situation, then the outcome could be different".
One of the youths who spoke to reporters said the group was picked up at a police check point in Erati, on the way to Cabo Delgado. He stuck to the story that they were seeking work as illegal miners, but could not give any further details.