Maputo — The armed violence in the central Mozambican provinces of Manica and Sofala, and in several districts of Cabo Delgado in the north has so far affected more than 1,800 teachers, President Filipe Nyusi announced on Monday.
The violence in the central provinces is carried out by the self-styled "Renamo Military Junta" a breakaway from the main opposition party Renamo.
"As we commemorate 12 October, National Teachers' Day, we cannot fail to mention the critical situations faced by teachers in the country's central region as well as in Cabo Delgado, as result of the hideous and inhuman acts staged by armed insurgents," Nyusi said, as he received a delegation of the National Teachers Union (SNP).
In Manica, the armed violence has already displaced more than three thousand people from their homes. These attacks affected 131 teachers and 12 schools, 11 in Gondola district, and one in Macate.
As for Cabo Delgado, since the start of attacks by islamist terrorists in 2017, 138 schools have been affected, said Nyusi. 45 of these schools had been destroyed, thus affecting more than 60 thousand pupils and 1,132 teachers.
"The district of Mocimboa da Praia with 32,247 pupils and 452 teachers, Quissanga with 10,047 schoolchildren and 359 teachers and Macomia with 7,698 pupils and 115 teachers are the most affected," stated the President.
Nyusi deplored the murder of innocent civilians by the terrorists, who had yet to reveal their true intentions. He called for the collaboration of every Mozambican citizen as well as the country's cooperation partners to restore peace and tranquillity.
Last week, Nyusi said, a group of veterans of Mozambique's war for independence took up arms and drove back terrorist units. "The recent operations in Muidumbe and Nangade districts were carried out with the veterans in the front line," he declared.
On behalf of the school children, teachers and every Mozambican citizen Nyusi also appealed to the terrorists to put their hands on their hearts and halt the bloody brutality against civilians.
The SNP chairperson, Rosario Quive, delivered a message from the union to Nyusi pointing out that the government still owes teachers in Maputo and Pemba overtime pay, as well as 5.3 million meticais (about 73.600 US dollars) in funeral allowances for teachers in the northern province of Niassa.
Quive warned that the Covid-19 pandemic has compromised still further efforts to achieve an inclusive education. During the months in which all schools were closed, the government provided distance learning via radio and television to replace the classroom. But pupils living in areas without electricity could not benefit from this.
Schools are being gradually reopened, but only if they can provide a reliable water supply and decent sanitation. Quive feared that these health requirements will leave many thousands of pupils unable to attend school.