Maputo — Mozambican Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario on Wednesday urged all Mozambicans "to unite efforts in facing our common enemy of terrorism which is endangering the territorial integrity of our country and the tranquillity and welfare of the population".
Speaking in the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, in a question and answer session between the deputies and the government, Rosario said "this is one of those moments when, faced with the threat to territorial integrity and to the welfare of the public caused by the heinous acts of terrorism, there should be no room for us to display political party, ethnic, racial or religious differences".
"We must all remain vigilant and support the defence and security forces in the struggle against the terrorists", in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
The jihadist group in Cabo Delgado, which has pledged allegiance to the so-called "Islamic State", has committed "the most barbaric atrocities", said Rosario, "including the indiscriminate beheading of defenceless people, and the destruction of homes and of public and private infrastructure".
With such acts, the terrorists "are creating panic and fear among the population, who are forced to abandon their places of origin", he added.
Rosario said that about half a million people have been displaced from their homes, and have sought refuge in Cabo Delgado districts that are still regarded as safe, and in other provinces. The government has set up transit accommodation centres, from which displaced people can be channelled to resettlement areas.
"With a view to gradually normalising the lives of these fellow-countrymen, areas for farming have been demarcated in resettlement sites in Cabo Delgado, Nampula and Niassa provinces, so that they can begin to produce and will cease depending on food aid", said the Prime Minister.
"Terrorism, the armed attacks in the central provinces by the self styled 'Renamo Military Junta', the kidnappings, murders and other types of crimes are barriers to the development of our country", he added.
He pledged that the government will continue to strengthen the defence and security forces, in terms of training, resources and equipment "so that they can pursue the fight against these criminal activities in an implacable and effective manner".
Turning to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Mozambican economy, Rosario said the government strategy rested on "a balance between safeguarding public health and keeping the economy working".
"This strategic vision has allowed us to avoid extreme restrictive measures, such as curfews and lockdowns, which could worsen still further the employment situation and household income", he stressed.
Instead, the government had expanded social protection programmes to support the most vulnerable households, in order to improve their purchasing power, and had implemented "prudent fiscal and monetary policies, in order to ensure price stability".
It had also allowed companies to postpone payment of the tax on profits, and had made lines of credit available, particularly to micro, small and medium enterprises.