Maputo — The Mozambican defence and security forces have announced the "maximisation of ostensive patrolling" to combat and capture islamist terrorists responsible for armed attacks in parts of the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
A press release from the General Command of the Mozambican police, cited in Thursday's issue of the independent newssheet "Carta de Mocambique", says that the Mozambican forces are "keeping active their operational assets" in Cabo Delgado to block further terrorist incursions.
The release gave no details, stressing only that the defence and security forces will maximise "combat and pursuit of the terrorists".
Last week there was heavy fighting in and around the coastal town of Mocimboa da Praia, in which the Ministry of Defence claimed to have killed 59 terrorists. However, the jihadist group took control of the Mocimboa da Praia port installations. Much of the town is now in ruins, and communications with Mocimboa da Praia have been cut.
The police press release also said that operations are continuing to capture members of the self-styled "Renamo Military Junta", who are responsible for a string of lethal ambushes against traffic using the main roads in the central province of Manica and Sofala.
Meanwhile, the police have decreed an obligatory curfew in the Cabo Delgado town of Mueda, even though this town has never been hit by the terrorists. A statement from the local police, cited by the newssheet "Mediafax", said that, as from 11 August nobody, with the exception of members of the defence and security forces, is allowed to be on the streets between 18.30 and 06.00 the following morning.
The Mueda district police command said the measure was necessary to control the movement of the terrorists, preventing them from infiltrating the local population.
Local sources cited by "Mediafax" said that this police document only formalised a practice that has been under way since March.
District police commands have no power to order curfews. The Mueda curfew is also clearly unconstitutional, since Article 55 of the Mozambican Constitution states categorically that all citizens "are free to circulate within the country and to go abroad except those judicially deprived of this right".
Freedom of movement could be limited by a State of Emergency, but the restrictive measures in force under the current state of emergency do not mention Mueda or anywhere else in Cabo Delgado.