Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Friday announced that, on the previous day, the defence and security forces had repelled a terrorist attack against the small town of Bilibiza in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
Speaking at the Monument to the Mozambican Heroes in Maputo, at a ceremony to mark the 56th anniversary of the launch of the independence war against Portuguese colonial rule, on 25 September 1964, Nyusi said "I want to dedicate a word of appreciation for the young men who right now are in the theatres of operation in the north and centre of the country, and who yesterday drove back an attack on Bilibiza. These men, from all ethnicities, tribes and races, without any political or religious colours, have shown a high sense of patriotism, courage and valour in defence of our sovereignty".
Islamist bandits have attacked Bilibiza before, notably in January, when they burnt down many houses and vandalised public buildings, including the Bilibiza Agricultural Institute, the local health centre and the administrative post secretariat.
Nyusi said that, facing adverse circumstances, and with the same determination as the fighters in the liberation struggle, the defence and security forces of today are aware that their mission is to fight a different sort of war, a fight against terrorism, "which requires still more capacity for re-invention in order to secure success".
"Our young men do not vacillate and are aware of their mission to fight terrorism and defend our sovereignty", he declared. "That's how it was with the youths of 25 September 1964, that's how it is with the youths who comprises our defence and security forces, and that's how it will be in future generations".
The Mozambican Armed Forces (FADM), Nyusi continued, are "the faithful guardians of the gains of the Mozambican people".
The defence forces of the past "had the duty to free the country from Portuguese colonialism. Today, with the advent of globalization, the threats are more diffuse and unpredictable, which demands other forms of flexibility and combat readiness."
"Terrorism, transnational crime, piracy, cybercrime and humanitarian missions are some of the challenges which our defence and security forces must also be prepared to face", said Nyusi.
The terrorism in Cabo Delgado, and the attacks by the self-styled "Renamo Military Junta" in the central provinces of Manica and Sofala "are affronts to our national independence, territorial integrity and peace", he declared.
"As Commander-in-Chief", Nyusi said, "I reiterate my promise to remain open to dialogue and to bring together all the forces of society who want to contribute to the affirmation of the great destination that we are building. To this end, I am counting on the dedication of the defence and security forces".
At the ceremony, Nyusi also decorated 30 people for outstanding achievements in various spheres of the nation's life. They were among 1,546 people decorated across the country, most of them in ceremonies guided by the provincial secretaries of state.
The war against islamist terrorism is creating new heroes. One of those whom Nyusi decorated posthumously, with the Medal of Military Merit, was naval captain Horacio Charles, who gave his life fighting the terrorist attack on the town of Mocimboa da Praia in June.