Maputo — The general commander of the Mozambican police, Bernadino Rafael, on Saturday warned police agents that they must not make defending the country dependent on the payment of allowances.
Cited in Monday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias", Rafael was speaking during a visit to members of the Rapid Intervention Unit (UIR - the Mozambican equivalent of the riot police) in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
The defence of national sovereignty, he declared, is a noble mission that has no price. "No cost can possibly be put on complying with your mission. No price, and no budget can possibly pay for our mission of protecting the motherland", said Rafael.
"We have to defend our country without looking at the cost", he added. "What is essential is for us to guarantee the defence of Mozambique. We know this country is rich and it belongs to all of us".
The purpose of Rafael's visit was said to be gauging the state of police morale and health, and their combat readiness, in the combat against the terrorists active in several districts in northern Cabo Delgado.
Rafael was also responding to reports circulating on social media that the police are demanding "commitment allowances" similar to those the government has approved for units of the armed forces (FADM) stationed in Cabo Delgado, and in "the central theatre" (that is, the fight against the self-styled "Renamo Military Junta" in Manica and Sofala provinces).
"What is said on social media cannot influence our operational readiness", Rafael urged. "Do not give any space to distorted messages which are intended to divide us. What we are defending is unity. Let us work while we are waiting for everything that is channelled to us through the instituted chain of command. No allowance can divide us".
He urged the UIR agents to continue their missions to guarantee order, which involves eliminating the foci of instability in Cabo Delgado. He called for cohesion, unity, courage and determination as the only way to defend the goals of defending national sovereignty.
"We must expel the terrorists so that our country can develop", said Rafael. "For that, we must focus on our mission. We cannot allow our police to be diverted from its national agenda".
Meanwhile, according to a report by the independent newssheet "Carta de Mocambique", the defence and security forces last Friday intercepted two boats that were trying to carry 60 people to the ruined town of Mocimboa da Praia, which is currently occupied by the jihadist terrorists aligned with the so-called "Islamic State".
The boats were in the provincial capital, Pemba, and the people on board had come from the neighbouring province of Nampula. The claimed they were going fishing in an area near Mocimboa da Praia. But no Mozambican fishing boat ever carries 30 or more people.
The defence forces had to open fire to prevent the two boats from fleeing towards the open sea. It is suspected that the 60 people were recruits to the terrorist group, which is known to be recruiting in Nampula.