Maputo — Mozambique’s National Defence and Security Council (CNDS), meeting in Maputo on Friday, praised the collaboration between the population and the defence and security forces to eliminate threats to security.
In an extraordinary meeting, chaired by President Filipe Nyusi, the CNDS stressed that this collaboration must continue “as a condition for eliminating the threats to national security on all fronts”.
The meeting was discussing the security and public order situation in the northern province of Cabo Delgado where the country is faced with a terrorist group linked to the self-styled “Islamic State”, and in the centre of the country, where dissidents of the “Renamo Military Junta” are continuing to wage a low level insurgency.
In a statement issued after the meeting, the CNDS strongly condemned the terrorist raid on the Cabo Delgado town of Palma on 24 March, and the crimes which followed, describing them, as “a gross violation of human rights”.
The Council urged the defence and security forces to step up their fight against the jihadists in order to guarantee protection of the population, and to establish the conditions for displaced people to return safely to their original homes.
The Council also expressed satisfaction at the decision by SADC (Southern African Development Community) to send a technical team to Mozambique to coordinate with the government joint actions in the fight against terrorism.
It was urgent, the statement said, to define the best forms of intervention that would defend the peoples of Mozambique and of SADC in general.
As for the conflict in the central provinces of Manica and Sofala, the Council urged the Mozambican forces to remain vigilant “so as to avoid any resurgence of attacks by the self-styled Renamo Military Junta”.
The Junta has not carried out any attacks since January, but its leader, Mariano Nhongo, has continue to issue threats that he will resume his war, if the government does not negotiate with him.
As far as the CNDS was concerned, all that is on offer for Nhongo and his men is that they can join the current “Demobilisation, Disarming and Reintegration” (DDR) of the Renamo militia. The CNDS issued yet another appeal for the Junta’s followers to join the demobilization.
In Cabo Delgado, the military have claimed that, in the recent operations to expel the terrorists from Palma, they killed at least 36 of the enemy.
Cited by Radio Mozambique, Brig Chongo Vidigal, the spokesperson for the Afungi Special Operational Theatre in Palma district, said “so far we can confirm that we have killed 36 of them, but we believe that the number will increase”. This is because the terrorists usually take the bodies of their fallen to their rearguard.
There is no estimate for how many of the Mozambican forces died. As for civilian dead, one figure circulating is 87, but so far there is no confirmation of this.