Maputo — The Mozambican armed forces (FADM) last Thursday intercepted a sail boat laden with seven tonnes of assorted foodstuffs and hygiene products off the coat of Mocimboa da Praia district, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
The boat was heading for the village of Macanja, in Palma district. But this stretch of the Cabo Delgado coast, from Ibo island to Palma, is banned to all shipping, in an FADM attempt to cut off supplies to the terrorist groups operating in the province.
The local FADM commander, Col. Arone Nema, said suspicions were deepened because the crew of the vessel was carrying a document stating that it had set out from the provincial capital Pemba, and its final destination was Matemo island, in Ibo district. But it had sailed past Matemo and continued towards Palma.
This led Nema to suspect that the rice, maize flour, sugar and other goods on the boats were intended for the terrorists.
"The crew of this boat broke the rules for travel, because it left Pemba, heading for Matemo, but it departed completely from that route", he told reporters. "The area where it was seized is where we have been patrolling. So we took the precaution of seizing the vessel".
Cited by the independent television station, STV, Nema said the six member crew are now under investigation, to ascertain the true destination of their cargo.
One of the crew members admitted that they had lied about their destination and had violated the ban on sailing up the Palma coast. "Our intention was to reach Macanja and leave the food for the people living there", he said.
Meanwhile, fishermen in Macomia district have reported terrorist attacks last Tuesday in which several of their colleagues were captured and beheaded. The terrorists appeared to be fleeing from the joint Mozambican/Rwandan forces in the Mbau administrative post in Mocimboa da Praia, and had crossed into the neighbouring district of Macomia.
According to a report in Monday's issue of the independent newssheet "Mediafax", the local aerodrome in Macomia town is being expanded, as part of an effort to persuade people displaced from their homes by terrorist attacks that it is now safe to return.
The Macomia district government met last Wednesday and discussed rebuilding damaged infrastructures. Zinc sheeting was delivered to local traders to help them repair shops damaged in terrorist attacks.
A second newssheet, "Carta de Mocambique", on Monday cited unnamed sources as claiming that the Mozambican authorities have identified six possible sources of finance for the Cabo Delgado terrorists. Three of these are individuals based in Tanzania, and three are Mozambican, two of them in Maputo, and one in Pemba.
However, the paper's sources did not name these suspects, or explain the channels used to send funds to the terrorists. They said that the troops from Rwanda and from members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have assisted the Mozambican forces with intelligence.