Mozambique: Media Crackdown Continues

(File photo).

Canal de Mocambique was firebombed on Sunday 23 August. Attackers broke through two security doors, stole computers, then sprayed petrol around the office and set fire to it. Canal investigations have exposed corruption at the top of Frelimo, most recently a battle between Frelimo elites for the control of fuel imports. Earlier it published a secret contract between Anadarko and the Ministry of Defence for troops to guard Afungi in which payments went into personal accounts. Rather than investigate an illegal contract, the Attorney General's office said Canal would be prosecuted for published a secret document. Executive editor Matias Guente was interrogated on 10 July and was expected to be interrogated again this week. There was also a failed attempt to kidnap Guente late last year.

The Public Prosecutor's Office has appealed for a second time against the acquittal of economist Carlos Nuno Castel-Branco and the editor of MediaFax, Fernando Mbanze, accused of libelling former president Armando Guebuza. The appeal will be the second after a lower court rejected the prosecutors' first appeal against their acquittal in September 2015. The case is over a post by Castel-Branco on his Facebook page in November 2013, severely criticising the then-president and calling for him to resign. Mediafax reprinted the post.

The Pope defended Bishop Lisboa and President Nyusi was effectively forced to apologise for attacking the Bishop. President Nyusi and his praise singers strongly attacked the Bishop of Pemba for defending rights of people in Cabo Delgado. (14-17 August) Nyusi stressed that Bishop Lisboa was a foreigner living in Mozambique. But the Pope publicly defended his Bishop, and privately pointed out that he had supported Nyusi's campaign with an unprecedented Papal visit to Mozambique during the election campaign. With tail between his legs, Nyusi visited the Bishop when he was in Pemba on 31 August.


Cases have jumped while restrictions have been eased. New Covid-19 cases reached 123 on 1 September and the number of new cases in August was double the number in July. There have been 25 deaths. The Council of Ministers said Tuesday (1 Sept) that is vas "very preoccupied" that people were ignoring the restrictions, which have acutally been loosened under the renewed state of emergency.

3.8% of people Maputo have had Covid-19, according to a survey by the National Health Institute which tested 10,000 people. Of those, 71% have been without symptoms. Half of htose tested are randomly selected, and the other half are from high exposure groups. In the Maputo fish market, 9.5% of traders have had Covid-19. More than half of the 4117 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Mozambique are in Maputo and Matola.

Cabo Delgado War

For war updates, Cabo Ligado Weekly on To subscribe and click on "Cabo Ligado: Mozambique Conflict Observatory" at the bottom of the form.

South Africa joins the competition to provide coastal protection, but Mozambique is reluctant

"If it's more intelligence support, if it's the SA Navy patrolling the coast, if it is assistance from our Defence Force, we as South Africa stand ready" to be involved in Cabo Delgado, South Africa's International Relations and Co-operation Minister Naledi Pandor told Parliament's International Relations Committee yesterday. (Wednesday 2 Sept) Her presentation noted that maritime security could be "with other partners". France and the US are also bidding to take over maritime security.

But she stressed to the Committee that Mozambique must ask for SADC or South African involvement, and it had not done so. At the 19 May summit SADC had agreed to support Mozambique on the Cabo Delgado insurgency, but Pandor told the Committee that it was up to Mozambique to decide what help it needed. At the 17 August SADC summit, Mozambique was reminded that at the 19 May meeting it had been asked to submit a roadmap of its needs. It still has not done so. Without that, South African cannot even send fact-finding mission to Cabo Delgado, she said. (Daily Maverick, 3 Sept)


As we note in the new special report today and have reported earlier, there are huge divisions in Frelimo and the military and police about the role of foreign military forces. Pandor's frustration suggests that Frelimo still has not resolved its internal conflicts. jh

An attempt to retake Mocimboa da Praia has begun. On Saturday (29 Aug) 20-30 vehicles carrying paramilitary riot police (Rapid Intervention Unit, UIR, who are doing most of the fighting) went on the main N380 road from Pemba to Mueda. Recently armed local militias in the villagers of Miangalewa, Chitunda, and Xitaxi in the lowlands of Miudumbe district were told on 27-28 August to move people away as a major military operation "would happen in the coming days.". And on 30 August the UIR convoy met a group of 100 insurgents in Miangalewa and, supported by DAG helicopters, appear to have won the battle. UIR based in Mueda have this week been fighting their way down the road toward Mocimboa da Praia. (Cabo Ligado 1 Sept, Pinnacle News)

Islands close to the coast are being attacked by insurgents, since the insurgents took control of Mocimboa da Praia port on 11 August. Many people from the mainland had taken refuge there from fighting, and are now fleeing back to the coast. The village of Pangane is said to have 5000 refugees.  People have been killed and kidnapped in attacks on two islands and boats. And in a still unexplained incident, two dhows carrying refugees from the coastal village of Nkomangano were attacked by two motor boats; one dhow was sunk killing 40 people. People on the other dhow said the attackers wore military uniforms, but it is unclear if the attackers were Mozambican navy or insurgents, because the insurgents have obtained many military uniforms. Indeed, for the 11 August attack, many insurgents simply walked into Mocimboa da Praia in government uniforms. (Zitamar 2 Sept, MediaFax 19 Aug)

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