Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi has announced that he will not attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Japan, in order to show solidarity with the victims of the terrorist attacks in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
The games are scheduled to begin on 23 July in Tokyo. The games should have happened in 2020, but were postponed a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the delay, they are still called the 2020 Olympics.
Mozambique's Secretary of State for Sport, Gilberto Mendes, broke the news that Nyusi will not be going to Tokyo in a Wednesday interview on a Radio Mozambique sports programme. He made it clear that, for Nyusi, the crisis in Cabo Delgado takes priority over any sporting event.
Mendes said that initially Nyusi had accepted the Japanese government's invitation to attend the opening ceremony, but had changed his mind in the light of the Cabo Delgado drama.
"The Head of State looks at the country holistically", said Mendes. "He thinks he cannot give himself the luxury of attending the Olympic Games, while there are displaced people in the country who need his attention".
Parts of Cabo Delgado have been under attack from islamist terrorists since October 2017. The jihadist group has declared its loyalty to the international terrorist network calling itself "Islamic State".
At least 2,500 people have died in the conflict, and over 700,000 people have been displaced from their homes, forced to seek refuge in parts of Cabo Delgado still regarded as safe, or in other provinces.