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The European Union (EU) is concerned about the attacks by armed groups against remote villages in the north of Mozambique and has offered the authorities help, the new European ambassador to Mozambique told Lusa in an interview on Thursday.
“We have a great concern that is shared by member states and partners,” Spanish diplomat Antonio Sanchez-Benedito Gaspar said.
The ambassador said that the EU has already told Mozambican authorities of its readiness to support “the efforts of the country in a coordinated way, under the leadership of the state institutions and authorities”.
“In different conversations, we have both expressed concern and made ourselves available to the authorities,” he said. So far there has been no response from the Mozambican state, he added.
On the nature of the attacks, “there is some confusion and no very precise information,” he said.”We are faced with criminal activity, perhaps with some Islamic radicalisation. It is a complicated situation that requires a wide focus”, he added.
Remote villages in Cabo Delgado province, between 1,500 and 2,000 kilometres north of the capital, Maputo, have been attacked by unknown groups since October 2017, causing countless deaths and an even greater number or displaced people.
In the last attacks on Thursday, 12 people were killed in shooting in a village and five soldiers were also killed in an ambush using a machine gun while they were on a routine patrol.
Unknown groups have been attacking remote villages in Cabo Delgado province since October 2017. These groups never made any claim nor said their intentions, but researchers suggest that trafficking networks of heroin, ivory, rubies and timber are linked to this violence.
These attacks are taking place at a time when investments are being made by oil and natural gas companies in the region, but the attackers have not entered the perimeter reserved for the enterprises.
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