Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Tuesday appeared to rule out any negotiations with the terrorist groups active in parts of the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
Speaking in the northern city of Nampula, on the occasion of "Victory Day", the anniversary of the agreement on Mozambican independence signed between the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo) and the Portuguese government in Lusaka on 7 September 1974, Nyusi said that the terrorists, who are aligned with the self-styled "Islamic State", have never presented the government with any demands.
No leaders of the group have identified themselves in public, or explained why they are waging such a brutal insurgency in which about 800,000 people have been displaced from their homes.
"The leaders of this criminal group have never shown their faces", said Nyusi. "So the Mozambican people still don't know them".
He said that, in addition to Mozambicans, the ranks of the terrorists include Tanzanians, Somalis, Kenyans, Congolese, Rwandans, Burundians, plus individuals from outside the African continent altogether.
The US State Department has identified some leaders of the Mozambican terrorists, notably a certain Bonomade Machude Omar, but they seem to have made no attempt to contact local or national Mozambican authorities.
Nyusi also announced that the Mozambican defence and security forces, together with their allies from Rwanda and the Standby Force of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have retaken most of the areas that had been occupied by the terrorists.
The most important of these was certainly the town of Mocimboa da Praia, with its port and airport. Joint Mozambican and Rwandan forces moved southwards from Mocimboa da Praia to take the administrative post of Mbau, and are reported to be advancing on the main terrorist base, known as "Siri 1".
"Currently clean-up operations are under way", said Nyusi. "We are re-establishing electricity and water supplies, the mobile phone network, banks, roads, bridges and health centres".
The intensity of the allied actions "is suffocating the enemy", said the President, adding that the defence forces are supported by local militia, often formed by veterans of the independence war, and their descendants.