The failure to resolve the growing Cabo Delgado civil war is now attracting a wide range of actors hoping to profit. And many come with neo-colonial, racist and anti-Islam agendas, or trying to use Mozambique as a pawn in global chess games.
As we report below, France, the United States, South Africa and many private military companies are already involved or want to join in. A few Mozambicans and others profit from the war, or profit from Cabo Delgado's resources. Local people gained little from those resources. Lacking hope or prospects, some young people began attacking the symbols of that wealth and of a state seen to be protecting the rich and not the poor. Already the outsiders have piled in. Private security companies protect the gas installations, mercenaries back the government, and Islamist militants back the insurgents - turning this into a war in which wealthy individuals and institutions are protected, and the poor suffer even more.
There are 250,000 displaced people and an estimated 700,000 affected and in need of help. “The world still has no idea what is happening, because of indifference, and because it seems that we have already become accustomed to wars. There is war in Iraq, there is war in Syria and there is also now a war in Mozambique,” Pemba Bishop Luiz Fernando Lisboa said last week.
Increasing amounts of money are being spent militarizing this war and succouring the affected. If five years ago even part of this money had been shared with the poor and marginalised of Cabo Delgado, the war would never have started. Is the point of no return being passed, where the only response is stepping up the military action, creating hopelessness and insurgent recruits on the ground, and propelling a war that will run for a decade? Or is there still a chance to show the young people of Cabo Delgado that they can share in the province's wealth and resources, and have a future?