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File photo: Lusa
The Defence and Security Council of Mozambique (CDSM) yesterday called for “greater coordination” between the security forces and the judiciary in efforts to hold accountable the armed groups involved in attacks in the province of Cabo Delgado, in the north of the country.
“[The CDSM] urges the Defence and Security Forces to continue to engage in close combat with the insurgents, and improve coordination with the judiciary so that the perpetrators of these crimes are held accountable,” a statement from the Presidency of the Republic reads.
The document comes after the 16th ordinary meeting of the CDSM in Maputo, chaired by the Mozambican head of state, Filipe Nyusi.
In May, the Mozambican president said he felt that the acquittal of defendants accused of involvement in armed violence in the north of the country would discourage the Defence and Security Forces, noting that some of those acquitted were later killed in combat.
“We have noticed that some of those acquitted because it was said that there was no evidence against them have returned to the ranks [of the armed groups]. This is bad: it discourages the work of those who, despite the risks, fight to protect the population and its assets”, President Nyusi said at the time.
Since last year, dozens of arrests have not been able to contain the violence in Cabo Delgado, and more attacks have been reported in recent weeks.
A Mozambican Attorney General’s document indicated that, up until April last year, the Mozambican Public Prosecutor’s Office had named a total of 339 ‘arguidos’ [official suspects] in 19 cases related to the attacks by armed groups in Cabo Delgado.
The first court ruling was handed down on April 24, 37 of 189 accused of involvement in armed violence in the north of the country being sentenced to terms of 12 to 40 years in prison.
A second trial, on June 4, found 23 people guilty of involvement in armed attacks and sentenced them to terms of 12 and 16 years in prison.
Among the accused are both Mozambican and foreign citizens, mostly from Tanzania, a country with areas bordering Mozambican districts that have been targeted by armed groups in the province of Cabo Delgado.
At least 140 people, including residents, alleged attackers and members of the security forces, have died since the outbreak of violence began in October 2017.Source: Lusa