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In the lands of the “first shot” of the National Liberation Struggle, they fight today against an invisible enemy: supposed elements of Al-Shabaab who on October 5 fired the shots that marked the beginning of terrorist incursions. Three months later, the village of Mocímboa da Praia, in the province of Cabo Delgado, is relatively calm, although under a strong military presence.
The attacks by hitherto little-known armed men caught police by surprise, and saw police head of reconnaissance killed in full-blown field search activity. The situation was serious enough to require major reinforcements to control the conflict, and tension has been hanging over the area since last October.
“We are working, but cautiously, because one day it may happen and we have to be prepared for any event whatsoever. It may not be quite what happened on day 5 [October]: there may be floods or strong winds, but we as a population, as citizens, as governors, have to be prepared for anything that comes, and to solve the problem,” Mocímboa da Praia mayor Fernando Neves said in an interview with our reporter.
The mayor is convinced that the social trauma has already passed, because in his view, there is no pain that lasts forever. “It is like someone who has lost a father, a mother. The person has that moment of pain, then it passes and one begins to look at the way forward.”
And it is through Mocímboa that the road linking Pemba to Palma – the district now welcoming the gas megaprojects – passes, so there was urgent need for immediate intervention to avoid a generalisation of insecurity that could affect the large investments that the Americans from Anadarko are just now starting to implement.
As for the military presence, Fernando Neves has only gratitude. “Without this (military) force, we would not be safe. When we see the force here, we feel that we are being protected,” he says.
By way of illustrating the current placidity, Cabo Delgado governor Júlio Parruque presided over the opening ceremony of the 2018 academic year in Mocímboa da Praia, and found there an atmosphere of hope. In his words: “Fortunately, the atmosphere is one of hope, because a considerable number of days has passed without reports of incursions by men bent on disturbing the tranquillity of our communities.”
By Ricardo MachavaSource: O País