Tag Archives: Cabo Delgado

Mozambique in MEPs focus

Brussels 15.12.2020 “The crisis in the northern part of Mozambique is already causing more than half a million displaced people and more than 2,000 deaths” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said, while debating the situation with Mozambique with the Members of the European Parliament in Brussels.

“And we, the European Union, continue to try to help through the humanitarian, development and peace-building axis, defending human rights at the centre of our response.

As if that were not enough, Cabo Delgado, one of the poorest provinces in Mozambique, with a tremendously fragile social structure, was devastated by Cyclone Kenneth in 2019. This has only aggravated a situation that is now complicated by the extension of the terrorism that comes from the north, from Somalia.

We have specialised teams working on the situation in Mozambique. We have permanent contacts with the government and with international institutions, the United Nations, the African Union and the United States.

We have allocated 100 million euros in the resilience program with the government to respond to the socio-economic consequences of COVID-19. And, of course, we are ready to study the possibility of contributing more resources.

This year we have already contributed 37 million euros in humanitarian aid, primarily to Cabo Delgado.

We are strengthening cooperation with all countries in the region, combating the impact of human trafficking – which, unfortunately, will increase with this situation – and helping to implement the Maputo peace agreement between the Mozambican government and RENAMO.
But the prospects are not positive, ladies and gentlemen. The situation in Mozambique is deteriorating under the protection and heat of natural disasters and of a country with extremely serious government difficulties.

In reality, it is the entire façade from the Horn of Africa to the Indian Ocean that is being the scene of an extension of conflicts and the spread of terrorist forces.

We are very concerned about the situation. It does not appear that we have improved in the Somalia area to the south. The recent tensions between Somalia and Kenya are not going to help either, but within Mozambique we must surely take stronger measures.

I have asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Portugal [Augusto Santos Silva], who will assume the presidency shortly, to travel to the region as my personal envoy – since I cannot go due to scheduling reasons – and I have asked him as colleague of the [Foreign Affairs] Council, please pay special attention during your presidency to what is happening in that country, which Portugal knows very well.

Is what I can tell you. I cannot bring you many positive elements, just rest assured that we mobilize all the resources we have to act in Mozambique”.

Mozambique: EU offers security support

The European Union will offer Mozambique support in addressing a wave of militant attacks in the country’s north by rebels with links to international terrorist groups, the EU’s ambassador to the southern African nation informed via his Twitter micro blog on October 9. Militant attacks in Cabo Delgado grew by 300% in the first four months of 2020, compared to the same period last year, according to Amnesty International.

The rebel attacks in Cabo Delgado province date back to 2017 but the violence has gathered pace this year with insurgents seizing important towns for brief periods and hitting military and other strategic targets.

Mozambique had asked the EU for help in training its armed forces to battle the insurgency, which has raised fears for stability and security in southern Africa.

“The government of Mozambique has asked for help and we will give, but it is more aid in terms of training, logistics and medical services for the forces that are fighting terrorism in northern Mozambique,” the EU’s ambassador to Maputo, Antonio Sánchez Gaspar, said.

“So far all of our efforts have been on the humanitarian emergency and development side. We will continue to make efforts on the security side, which is just beginning,” he said.

Rights group Amnesty International last month accused Mozambican soldiers of committing atrocities in the northern conflict zone, but the defence ministry dismissed the reports, saying militants regularly impersonated soldiers.

A growing Islamist insurgency in northern Mozambique entered its fourth year this week, with experts saying there is no end in sight for a conflict that has killed and displaced thousands of people.

Since the first attack in 2017 by al-Shabaab in the province of Cabo Delgado, militants have taken control of territory in the northern province, including a strategic port, and burned down dozens of villages. Al-Shabaab is considered the Mozambique affiliate of Islamic State.

The United Nations says the violence has forced over 300,000 people to flee their homes, seeking refuge in safer parts of Cabo Delgado and neighboring provinces. More than 2,000 people have been killed since the beginning of the conflict.

The Republic of Mozambique has a very young and rural-based population. Since the end of the 15 year long civil war, Mozambique has had a high economic growth rate linked to economic reform and the revival of the agriculture, transportation, and tourism sectors. The country is highly exposed to climate hazards, such as droughts, floods, and coastal storms, and will need to adapt to climate change.

Mozambique’s development is expected to improve thanks to the country’s important reserves of coal and natural gas provided that security and stability are achieved in these regions

Mozambique troops attempt to regain Mocimboa da Praia

Mozambique security forces were engaged in a heavy battle with Islamist insurgents to regain control of a strategic port Mocimboa da Praia in a gas-rich northern province, Defence Minister Jaime Neto said.

Neto has announced the operation a day after the Islamists staged an early morning attack and captured the port town of Mocimboa da Praia.

“At this moment, the defence and security forces are trying to control the situation,” Neto said to press in the capital Maputo. “However, it remains tense and fluid.”

The militants had infiltrated various neighbourhoods disguised in civilian clothes, before unleashing terror, looting and killing government troops and civilians, Neto underlined.

The assault was the latest and the most pertinent in a chain of intensifying attacks that have plagued the country’s northern region since 2017.

Authorities at Mozambique’s defence forces (FDS) confirmed that “terrorists” had launched “sequenced attacks” on several villages surrounding the port over the past week in an operation aiming to occupy the town.

Striking Mocimboa da Praia for a third time this year, the brazen attack was orchestrated a stone’s throw from the heart of the site of natural gas projects worth billions of dollars.

Mocimboa da Praia lies less than 80 kilometres south of Afungi peninsula where a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility, one of Africa’s biggest single investment projects, is located.

The port in the Cabo Delgado province is a major traffic hub for the gas project.

The attacks in Cabo Delgado have displaced more than 250,000 people and caused more than 1500 deaths, according to the ACLED Data Project.

The attacks started in Mocimboa da Praia in 2017 and have since spread to massive swathes of Cabo Delgado.

The latest attack — the third on the town this year — was claimed by the Islamic State Central Africa Province (ISCAP).

The IS-affiliated group has the stated goal of establishing a Caliphate in the region.

In spite of the drop in oil prices and the global pandemic crisis, French company Total signed a $14.9bn senior debt financing agreement for Mozambique LNG on 17 July, after acquiring the asset from US-based Anadarko in September 2019.

The Mozambique LNG project involves plans to construct the country’s first onshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant, including the development of the Golfinho and Atum gas fields located within the Offshore Area 1 concession in Cabo Delgado Province, in northern Mozambique, as well as the construction of a two-train liquefaction plant with a total capacity of 13.1 million tonnes per annum.

Mozambique neutralised over 100 Islamists

Mozambique security forces killed at least 129 insurgents in the northern region Cabo Delgado that has been plagued by violence for at least the last three years, the interior minister said on April 28.

Since 2017, infrequent but violent raids on government buildings and villages by armed groups with suspected links to the Islamic State (ISIS) have intensified in northernmost province of one Africa’s poorest nations.

The interior ministry said the 129 killings were the total for the month, and were a retaliation for an attack in Xitaxi in Muidumbe district earlier in April, where insurgents killed 52 villagers.

The insurgents profile reamins obscure, though initial attacks were claimed by a group known as Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama. More recently, Islamic State (IS) has claimed a number of attacks.

Mozambique: Jihad strike in Cabo Delgado

Islamist militants have killed around 52 people in northern Mozambique Cabo Delgado province, police sourced confirmed.
The villagers in Cabo Delgado province were “massacred”, with some beheaded, after some people refused to be recruited into the militant group, police clarified.

Hundreds have been killed and thousands displaced during the three-year insurgency in Cabo Delgado.

A militant group calling itself al-Shabab operates in the area and last month briefly seized control of the town of Mocimboa de Praia.
It is unclear whether it is linked to the significantly larger Somali movement of the same name.

The attack took place in the village of Xitaxi in Muidumbe district on 7 April but came to light later.

Recently, the criminals tried to recruit young people to join their ranks, but there was resistance on the part of the youths. This provoked the anger of the criminals, who indiscriminately killed – cruelly and diabolically – 52 young people,” police spokesman Orlando Mudumane told reporters.
Cabo Delgado is one of Mozambique’s poorest regions, but is rich in untapped mineral resources.
In 2010, Mozambique discovered huge gas reserves in Rovuma Basin, off the Indian Ocean coast of Cabo Delgado.

There is speculation that the Mozambique authorities are now highlighting the 7 April incident in order to deflect attention from what is widely considered a propaganda coup for IS, which is actively seeking to build “franchise” operations in conflict zones across Africa” analyst Andrew Harding said.

Image: fishing net, Cabo Delgado, Mozambique

EU concerns over Mozambique security

The EU Council today adopted conclusions on Mozambique, reiterating the EU’s availability to support the country in the steps needed to address the current situation.

In its conclusions the Council recalls the importance of the Peace and National Reconciliation Agreement signed in August 2019 by the government of Mozambique and RENAMO, the Mozambican National Resistance. While restating its support to the agreement, the Council stresses the importance of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration, as well as effective decentralisation, which are crucial for a long-lasting reconciliation.

The Council also expresses concerns over the continuously deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in the Cabo Delgado province, and calls upon the Mozambican authorities to take effective action in order to protect citizens, carry out investigations to bring perpetrators to justice, and identify the role of terrorist organisations.

In light of the situation, the Council underlines the EU’s readiness to engage in a dialogue to determine effective options for assistance, and to support relevant cross-border cooperation between Mozambique and its neighbours. The EU also stands ready to work with Mozambique to promote sustainable economic transformation and diversification, and to support Mozambique in the necessary economic and political governance reforms.

Finally the EU reiterates its solidarity to Mozambique and stands ready to support the government in its efforts to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health sector, as well as its broader humanitarian, social and economic impact, affecting the people of Mozambique and particularly the poorest and most vulnerable.

The Council conclusions were adopted by written procedure.

ISIS claimed attack in Mozambique

The assailants destroyed houses, vandalised public spaces, and erected barricades along vital roads in Mozambique Cabo Delgado province. It is still unclear how many people were killed or wounded as most residents are still in hiding, and the government had yet to assess the situation.

The attackers were in control of the city until late on March 23-24 when Mozambican authorities said the fighters were dislodged.

But local press reports that the residents are still in shock and trying to come to terms with the attack.

The attack was claimed by an armed group, Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama, or ‘followers of the prophetic tradition’.

This was the most daring attack on Mocimboa da Praia, 90km (56 miles) from a major liquified natural gas project worth about $60bn.

The Islamist militant group has killed hundreds and displaced thousands since it launched attacks in October 2017, according to medical charity Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF).

More recently, the terrorist group ISIS has claimed responsibility via its media outlets, though there has been no independent confirmation of a link.