Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Wednesday challenged the Mozambican Armed Forces (FADM) to do all in their power to restore normality to those parts of the country facing armed violence.
Two armed conflicts are currently under way. The more serious is the attack on the northern province of Cabo Delgado by terrorists who have proclaimed their loyalty to the self-styled "Islamic State". The second consists of a string of raids in the central provinces of Manica and Sofala perpetrated by the "Renamo Military Junta", a breakaway from the country's main opposition party, Renamo.
Addressing the opening session in Maputo of a meeting of the Coordinating Council of the Ministry of Defence, Nyusi stressed that the task of the defence sector is to maintain the country's sovereignty and consolidate an environment of peace, which will allow the pursuit of development programmes.
"The presence of terrorists on our national territory is a threat to sovereignty", he said. "Fighting this scourge and restoring normality in the regions affected is the main challenge for the defence and security forces in general and for the FADM in particular".
He recommended that, during the sessions of the Coordinating Council, senior office holders in the defence sector should bring sustainable and realistic solutions for the challenges faced by the FADM. "We want armed forces that are more pro-active, disciplined, and courageous and are not hesitant", Nyusi insisted.
He also attacked the use of social media to spread disinformation about the fight against terrorism in Cabo Delgado.
"We lament the growing trend towards disinformation and the attempts to manipulate public opinion by inventing facts, which are then publicized by using the platforms provided by social media", Nyusi said.
He was concerned that "in this saga of distorting reality and of publicizing things which are not real, some of the mass media are being used, and, instead of being guided by professionalism, they end up, deliberately or innocently, acting to the advantage of the enemy". Nyusi did not name the media he had in mind.
Nyusi urged all citizens to show vigilance in the fight against terrorism, and demanded that the FADM hold responsible for their acts all those who attack the Mozambican state through the incorrect use of social media.
He urged them "to ascertain the veracity of the facts" and to watch all attempts to spread news and images. "The first vigilance comes from you", he told his audience, "you must not be deliberately denigrated while you watch passively and hold nobody responsible for these acts".
Nyusi urged the Defence Ministry and the FADM General Staff to provide operational and logistical resources for the troops, and to ensure that, at the end of each month, all soldiers receive the allowances to which they are entitled.