Mozambique: Police seize nine kilograms of heroin at Maputo airport
Armed groups set fire to homes and vehicles and terrorise the population in Cabo Delgado.
Mozambique chief of police says that armed attacks in the north of the country have been financed by illegal miners in response to authorities’ attempts to curb their activities.
“‘Garimpeiros’ [illegal miners] here in Montepuez are among those promoting unrest in some parts of Cabo Delgado. They are acting as ringleaders for the criminals who take precious stones, rubies and others, and deliver them to young people who take them to the coast and then out of the country,” PRM Commander Bernardino Rafael announced on Saturday at ameeting with residents of the Mirige neighbourhood in Montepuez.
“When we conducted operations against illegal mining, they became sworn enemies and began to fight us,” creating destabilisation, he said.
Bernardino Rafael was alluding to the arrest of garimpeiros in early 2017, six months before the first armed attack in Mocímboa da Praia in October of the same year.
Montepuez is between Palma and Macomia in the interior of Cabo Delgado province, some distance from the coastal areas which have been the scene of attacks by armed groups responsible for at least 150 deaths but of which, however, the motivations and the mentors have remained unclear.
PRM asks for vigilance
Mozambican authorities announced for the first time in December 2017 that they had identified the ringleaders of the attacks and, a month ago, 37 of the 189 defendants in a trial concerning the violence in Cabo Delgado were sentenced to prison, but the attacks have continued.
“We have to be vigilant and continue to dismantle these groupings, and denounce people who transfer money by M-Pesa [a mobile phone money transfer system] for the evildoers here in Montepuez,” Rafael insisted.
He also called on the public to be wary of those “who want to recruit young men into the ranks of the evildoers”.
“Only after the dismantling [these gangs] in cities or towns, and especially here [in Montepuez], can we control those individuals who kill and burn Mozambican homes,” he concluded.Source: Deutsche Welle