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In fact, at the time of going to print, “Carta” had been unable to identify a single family that had seen a loved one being forcefully recruited for compulsory military service. [Screen shot: Social Media]
In the last few days, the city and province of Maputo have experienced unrest, ‘Carta de Moçambique’ writes, because of rumours on social networks regarding compulsory recruitment, regardless of gender and age, into the Defence and Security Forces (FDS), in what looks like a clear repeat of “Operation Take off Your Shirt” [Operação Tira-Camisa], adds the same source.
Last Friday, some neighbourhoods in the cities of Maputo and Matola were in turmoil. People armed with sticks, stones and bottles barricaded National Road Number One (EN1) in protest at the supposed compulsory recruitment of young people.
Zimpeto, and especially the entrance to the Wholesale Market and the Interurban Transport Terminal, was the epicentre of the unrest.
“Carta de Moçambique” witnessed events. Chanting slogans and visibly outraged, people threw objects at vehicles passing along the highway. Young people, who were not part of the protesting group, stampeded, allegedly fleeing the supposed recruiters.
The situation only returned to normal thanks to the intervention of the Police of the Republic of Mozambique (PRM), who fired into the air to disperse the protesters. The riots took place between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m..
At the entrance to the Zimpeto Wholesale Market, a semi-collective passenger bus was partially destroyed after being hit by objects thrown by demonstrators.
Our reporter, who was in the Zimpeto Wholesale Market before the riots started, and afterwards too, still caught no glimpse of any “recruiters”. In fact, Carta did not see any recruiters, nor even the Mahindra vehicles the FDS normally uses.
The various individuals questioned by our newspaper were not able to even profile the recruiters. In fact, we were unable to find a single individual who had seen the recruiters, or describe them or their modus operandi. They all however told our newspaper that individuals wearing the uniform of the Armed Forces of Defence of Mozambique were “recruiting young people”.
The various (mostly amateurs) videos show people appearing to flee from the alleged individuals carrying out compulsive recruitment. The videos circulating on Friday morning suggest that this was also taking place in the Magoanine C neighbourhood, known as Matendene.
Text and audio messages circulating on Facebook and Whatsapp list Patrice Lumumba, T.3, Zona Verdade, Ndlhavela, Manhiça and Marracuene among the neighbourhoods where the alleged recruitment was taking place.
The supposed purpose of the alleged compulsory recruitment is the reinforcement of the FDS in the fight against insurgents in Cabo Delgado.
In fact, at the time of going to print, “Carta” had been unable to identify a single family that had seen a loved one being forcefully recruited for compulsory military service.
Jaime Bessa Neto speaks of “disinformation”
Mozambican authorities broke their silence around the issue some hours after the riots in the Zimpeto neighbourhood in the person of the Minister of National Defence, Jaime Bessa Neto, who flatly denied that there was any compulsively recruitment of young people going on in the city and province of Maputo or any other region of the country.
Neto said the wave of disinformation had no purpose other than to create unrest, adding that there was no need for compulsory recruitment, since current levels of staffing were capable of guaranteeing public order and tranquillity.
“No recruitment is taking place. In fact, this information is happening at a time when the military registration is taking place, which is a normal activity and runs until February. This information that is circulating is completely false and is meant to cause agitation,” Neto said.
Mozambique police also provided clarification on Friday afternoon, spokesman Orlando Mudumane condemning the demonstrations and saying there was no compulsory enlistment into the FDS for young people.
Mudumane said that, rather, steps were being taken to neutralise individuals spreading rumours and creating unrest in Maputo city and province.
Mudumane further said that some individuals had been detained for “police identification” following Friday’s unrest, adding that the Police had not received any complaints from parents reporting the disappearance of a relative.Source: Carta de Moçambique
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