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General Commander of the Mozambican police, Bernadino Rafael, spoke to the press after a meeting in Nampula city with local community leaders.. [Photo: O País]
The General Commander of the Mozambican police, Bernadino Rafael, on Tuesday guaranteed that the defence and security forces are working hard to restore public order and tranquillity to the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
He made this commitment when speaking to the press in the neighbouring province of Nampula, after a meeting in Nampula city with local community leaders.
He appealed to the community leaders to dissuade young people from joining the insurgents in Cabo Delgado, who have been terrorising districts in the north of the province since October 2017.
“Our forces are working to improve public order and security in Cabo Delgado”, Rafael stressed. “We have asked the communities to warn young people to avoid being recruited into the ranks of the criminals”.
The police believe that the Cabo Delgado terrorists, who are inspired by islamic fundamentalism, are covertly recruiting members in the neighbouring provinces. Rafael said “so far at least 250 young people in Nampula have been neutralised when they were on their way to Cabo Delgado to join the insurgents”.
He said the police intends to improve its performance, and claimed that in 2019 the police had cleared up 87 per cent of the reported 17,650 criminal cases across the country.
Rafael also pledged that any policemen who deviate from the standards expected from the force will be expelled from the force, and he urged citizens to denounce illegal or unethical behaviour by police agents.
“As we have said before, any Mozambican policeman with deviant behaviour shall be expelled”, he declared. “That is the only treatment reserved for such cases”.
But on the ground in Cabo Delgado, the death toll continjues to mount. According to a report in Wednesday’s issue of the independent newsheet “Carta de Mocambique”, over the past week at least 14 people died in terrorist attacks in the districts of Mocimboa da Praia, Meluco and Quissanga.
In a raid before dawn on Friday, five people were beheaded in the village of Imbada, in Meluco, where the insurgents also burnt down several huts.
On the same day, at nightfall, the insurgents attacked Mitumbate village, in Mocimboa da Praia. No fatalities were reported from this raid.
On Thursday morning there were two attacks against the villages of Nanquidunga and Makulo, also in Mocimba da Praia, In Makulo, one person was killed.
On Tuesday, 18 February, there were a further two attacks. In Chikulua village, one person was murdered, and in Nkomangano the insurgents killed six people.