Tag Archives: Mozambique

Mozambique: IS attack in Palma

In Mozambique on Monday March 29 the Islamic State fighters, according to their own claims, had carried out an attack on the northern town of Palma, where dozens were killed, thousands displaced and some people remain missing. The total number of dead or missing following the attack is unknown. While tens of thousands of people may have fled, according to three aid workers. (Image above: illustration).

Islamist insurgents targeted Palma, situated next to gas projects worth $60 billion, with a three-pronged attack during last week. Fighting continued on Monday, March 29, according to a security source directly involved in efforts to secure the town.

The Mozambique government confirmed on Sunday, March 28, that dozens of people were killed, including seven when their convoy of cars was ambushed during an escape attempt.

Islamic State claimed the attack via its Amaq news agency, saying its fighters had taken control of the town after days of clashes with security forces.

They had killed at least 55 people, including a number of soldiers, destroyed and taken control of buildings including factories and banks, and seized vehicles, the news wire informs.

Most communications to Palma have been cut off since last week.

The country’s northernmost province of Cabo Delgado, where Palma is located on the border with Tanzania, has been plagued since 2017 by Islamist insurgency now linked to Islamic State.

“The jihadist attack on Palma, #Mozambique, is an attack on French interests and against the region’s economic development. It is also an attack of incredible barbarism. My condolences to the families of the victims” Member of French National Assembly Marine Le Pen wrote on her Twitter micro blog.

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.

IS captures Mozambique LNG port

Islamist insurgents have captured a strateguc port for LNG in the far northern Mozambique town of Mocimboa da Praia, close to the site of natural gas projects worth some $60 billion, local media reported. (Image above: illustration).

Local news site Zitamar said the port had been seized on Ausust 11 when naval forces ran out of ammunition to keep insurgents at bay after days of fighting in Mocimboa da Praia.

There have been no comments from Mozambique authorities so far.

AMENDED:

At the moment, terrorists have captured most of Mosimboa da Praia, entering the seaport area, which was defended by the Marine Corps of the Armed Forces of Mozambique” according to an article published at site free-news.su, siged by Oleg Soloviev (Oлег Соловьев).

“The besieged government marines were assisted by employees of the South African private military company Dyck Advisory Group (DAG). They, using helicopters, fired at the advancing groups of militants, holding back their advance. However, this assistance was short-lived, since the main DAG base is located 350 km to the south, in the city of Pemba, so the “choppers” could only be in the sky above the target for 15 minutes. In addition, DAG helicopters were used to deliver ammunition to the Marines” Soloviev continues.

“By the evening of August 11, the situation of the defenders of the security forces became more complicated. The Marines ran out of ammunition, so they were forced to retreat. At the same time, the jihadists did not experience a shortage of ammunition, since before that they had captured a large arsenal of army men.

“As a result, according to Mozambique media reports, IS militants completely captured the port of Mosimboa da Praia. In addition, the terrorists damaged one of the French HSI32 interceptor boats, which are in service with the Mozambique Coast Guard”.

COVID19: EU supports Africa women

European Commission among the other prominent international players has been alarmed by the rising levels of violence against women and girls, mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic confinement measures but also following the social-economic stress and insecurity that many families have to face.

In sub-Saharan Africa women are disproportionally more exposed to both health and economic risks, and this is linked to their roles and responsibilities in their communities or society as a whole. Unfortunately, according to available statistics the threat of child marriage is also greater when communities are affected by shocks like disease outbreak, when all the referral systems to prevent and respond to gender-based violence may underperform.

Responding to the significance attributed by the EU to gender equality and women and girls empowerment, including Africa, the European Commission currently invests in around 40 ongoing projects targeting or contributing to the elimination of violence against women and girls on the African continent amounting to approximately €310 million. The most significant one for a total amount of €250 million is the Spotlight Initiative (Africa envelope), – the largest global programme to eliminate violence against women and girls, with an initial investment of €500 million, launched in September 2017. The Initiative aims at eliminating all forms of VAWG in partner countries from five regions: Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, Caribbean and Pacific.

In Sub Saharan Africa the objective is to prevent, combat and prosecute sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls, including the elimination of harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation. The programme is implemented in eight African countries (Liberia, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda and Zimbabwe) for a total amount of €220 million.

The African regional programme complements eight countries programmes with a substantive allocation of €30 million. An allocation of 10% of the overall Africa investment budget supports the women’s movement which is implemented by two existing UN Trust Funds (the UN Women Peace and Humanitarian Fund, and the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women and Girls).

According to the EU officials, following the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, the Commission is adapting and refocusing the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative to identify risk factors related to pandemic context and to respond to critical needs. Efforts are currently focussing on ensuring swift action to counter increased domestic violence, boost prevention, support survivors and support civil society organisations.

The EU supports the scale-up of existing hotlines, shelters and equipping health, police, justice and social protection sectors for women and girls. One good example is Mozambique, where Spotlight Initiative funding is being used to strengthen the preparedness of staff working in health centres and shelters to better assist victims. Protective gear and hygiene material is being supplied in these centres and shelters. Spotlight also supports police in better responding to violence cases by providing transport and mobile phones.

Other projects are mainly implemented by Civil Society Organisations (NGO). The EU contribution to these projects is close to €60 million, and they are implemented across the African continent.

The inclusion of the prevention of and response to gender-based violence, and is aligned to COVID-19 national prevention and containment measures, is the EU ongoing mission, for example, in Uganda, a consortium led by CARE Denmark, in partnership with other three international and four national NGOs, working on empowerment, accountability and leadership for refugees and host communities, will continue to provide prevention and response services to survivors of gender-based violence and work on other protection issues.

Experiences of past epidemics lead to conclusion that intimate partner violence and sexual exploitation and abuse increase during these periods. Based on this knowledge CARE and partners have adapted the assistance: case management will be provided remotely, while social workers stationed at the health facilities will support gender-based violence screening. For high risk cases, face-to-face interactions will continue, while maintaining social distancing and hand hygiene precautions. The EU’s humanitarian contribution to this action is €2.3 million. In 2019, it is estimated that the EU allocated approximately €26 million of its humanitarian aid budget to the prevention and response to gender-based violence worldwide.

Most EU-funded projects to eliminate violence against women and girls are implemented in partnership with the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) or with international organisations. When the European Commission works with international organisations, the European civil servants also often work with CSOs. For the Spotlight Initiative it is foreseen that at country level, 30-50% should be delivered through CSOs. CSOs also play a crucial role in the design and the governance of the Spotlight Initiative, at national, regional and global level.

Following the COVID crisis, the EU is also providing flexible support to women’s organisations and grassroots organisations, including the much needed core funding. In this context, the EU in close collaboration with the UN is re-directing around €15 million to support and ensure business continuity of CSOs and mitigate challenges and risks linked to the COVID-19 crisis through two above mentioned UN Trust Funds. In the short term, the funds support activités to counter the increase of domestic violence under COVID-19 crisis, prevention, support to survivors, including Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), and help provide a lifeline to women’s organisations, CSOs working on gender-based violence related issues.

The Commission adopted its Communication on a global response to COVID-19 in April 2020. This “Team Europe” response is a joint effort between the European Union, its member states and European financial institutions to mobilise resources to support partner countries’ efforts in tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

In order to ensure a comprehensive response, the EU’s response includes both urgent, short-term emergency measures, and more medium to long-term measures such as research and health systems strengthening (right to health), and mitigating the economic and social impact.

The response also includes social protection actions, addressing all inequalities and non-discrimination and promotion of human rights. The Communication recalls the importance “to promote and uphold good governance, human rights, the rule of law, gender equality and non-discrimination, decent work conditions, as well as fundamental values and humanitarian principles”.

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.

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