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The Police of the Republic of Mozambique (PRM) in Nampula, northern Mozambique, has strengthened its control over the movement of people in the areas where the province borders with neighbouring Cabo Delgado, the province where remote villages have been attacked by armed groups.
Zacarias Nacute, a spokesman for the provincial command of Nampula, told Lusa today that vigilance has been tightened to prevent people from being invited to travel to join those groups, following a case detected in early June.
“We are making thorough checks on all vehicles coming from other provinces and also those leaving Nampula,” Nacute said.
The Islamic Community in Nampula fears the expansion of the attacks in the province of Cabo Delgado to other parts of the country and has also called for vigilance on the part of those who profess the Muslim religion.
The violence may have an external force and young Mozambicans are being used, a delegate of the Islamic Council in Nampula Sheikh Juma Kadria told Lusa, in line with the views of other Islamist leaders heard by the News Agency since October 2017 – the time when the attacks began, reportedly perpetrated by some members of a mosque in Mocímboa da Praia.
Juma Kadria believes that young Mozambicans have been “instrumentalised” in the name of the Muslim religion and are spreading terror and fear in Cabo Delgado, as opposed to the peace advocated by Islam.
“Nampula has already noted the presence of strange religious sects,” he added, noting that “the Muslim brothers immediately informed the government authorities.”
According to the leader, it is a group that appeared in late 2017 and claimed to be Muslim, but who spread hatred and disobedience to the Government in its messages- similar to the reports of Mocímboa da Praia.
The PRM in Nampula announced on the 8th of June that it had stopped about 40 citizens who were travelling to Cabo Delgado, due to the suspicion that they were being recruited to violent groups.
“They did not commit any crime, but they were being deceived by offers of employment,” said provincial commander Manuel Zandamela at the time.
Remote villages in the province of Cabo Delgado, 1,500 kilometres north of Maputo, have been plundered by unknown attackers in the last nine months.
The groups invade the houses with catanas in search of cattle, food, money and valuable goods. The attacks have caused an undetermined number of deaths, some of the victims having been killed with machine guns, in addition to burning some of the villages.
The wave of attacks began in Mocímboa da Praia with an armed group that included members of a Muslim group occupying a mosque in the village and who argued that Islamic law should prevail over the rule of law.
The groups that have attacked the villages never made any claims or made their intentions known.
The attacks come at a time when investments by natural gas oil companies in the region are advancing. However, they have not yet entered the perimeters of the projects.
A study conducted by researchers reports that there is an international criminal network linked to the trafficking of heroin, ivory, rubies and wood and that it has been present in the province of Cabo Delgado for several years. The wave of violence would be linked to these networks.
Authorities have announced hundreds of arrests and say that the alleged perpetrators are fragile, with no further clarification on the reasons for this wave of violence.
The attacks have provoked a wave of hundreds of IDPs [Internally Displaced Persons] seeking refuge in the nearest district headquarters (Palma, Mocímboa da Praia, Macomia, Ilha do Ibo and Quissanga).Source: Lusa