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A group of soldiers of the Malawian frontier guard last Thursday invaded a camp of Mozambican fishermen on Lake Chiuta, in Mecanhelas district, in the northern province of Niassa.
The Niassa provincial police commander, Aquilasse Kapangula, told a press conference in the provincial capital, Lichinga, on Monday, that the intention of the Malawians was to force the Mozambicans to abandon their camp. However, after a few shots had been fired in the air, the Malawians withdrew, using a Malawian boat to reach the Malawian shore of the lake.
The shots were fired from a position of the Mozambican frontier guard near the fishermen’s camp in order to neutralise the invaders.
The Malawian soldiers justified their action on the grounds that they were pursuing fishermen who had violated Malawian waters. They said the Mozambicans were fishing illegally on the Malawian side and were using nets of a fine mesh that are damaging to the environment – probably mosquito nets, and the use of mosquito nets for fishing is banned in both Mozambique and Malawi.
“On Friday, the day after the incident , we went to Malawi and met with the local police authorities, and we concluded that the Malawians did indeed violate our territory”, said Kapangula. “But also on our side we reached the conclusion that there are colleagues of ours in the lake and river protection force who have collaborated with the fishermen in the use of inappropriate nets”.
“The first measure we took”, he continued, “was to transfer the six men of this force while we are investigating the situation”.
The eastern shore of Lake Chiuta is in Mozambique, while the western shore is in Malawi, and the frontier between the two countries runs down the middle of the lake.Source: AIM