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The Municipal Council of Matola is to redefine the boundaries of the area occupied by the Siduava military barracks in order to avoid future conflict with the local community, the mayor of the municipality, Calisto Cossa, said yesterday afternoon.
Cossa announced the move at the end of a meeting with the local population and leaders of the General Command of the Police of the Republic of Mozambique, following the conflict between the military and the population over a child killed by a stray bullet in Siduava last week.
Comforting the bereaved family, Calisto Cossa said he was sorry about what happened and that the neighbourhood commission would work with the City Council and the Defence and Security authorities to speedily redefine the boundary area of the barracks, including the military servitude area whose existence is routinely ignored by residents.
He said he found it strange that in other neighbourhoods with similar problems, like Malhampsene and Boquisso, the same people were leading the residents committees.
“From the point of view of legality, it is not us who determine the limits of the military barracks. In addition to the physical space where the military is housed, there is an area of military servitude. It is this part that people feel should not exist. Our purpose is not to ascribe right and wrong. It is to observe the legality and seek clear communication with the population about the coexistence that we want,” he said.
He explained that, at this stage, it was necessary to define the space reserved for the military barracks, housing, and also ‘machambas’. He said that a solution would be found for those who have been living within the perimeter of the military barracks.
“We have a situation where we have houses, agricultural plots and military barracks all in the same area. There were intrusions. It does not make sense for anyone to be here, all of a sudden, without land assignment documents [issued] by the administrative authorities,” he complained.
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