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The Centre for Public Integrity (CIP), a Mozambican non-governmental organisation (NGO), has launched a petition to contest the intolerance against figures who denounce the suffering inflicted on populations by armed violence in the north of the country.
In the announcement of the initiative on its website, the CIP said that it intends to gather 5,000 signatories to denounce the negative environment created around people who warn of the humanitarian crisis that is affecting populations in the areas affected by clashes between the Defence and Security Forces (FDS) and the armed groups that are carrying out attacks in Cabo Delgado province.
Specifically, the CIP condemns the criticism that the president, Filipe Nyusi, has made in general against “Mozambicans and foreigners” who have reproached alleged abuses of the FDS in the armed conflict in that province.
During his visit to Cabo Delgado on 15 August, Filipe Nyusi accused those who are well protected, take the suffering of those who protect them lightly, including some foreigners who have freely chosen to live in Mozambique.
For the CIP, Nyusi’s statement does not encourage frank and open dialogue.
It states that statements by Nyusi led to commentators considered close to the president and the ruling Liberation Front of Mozambique (Frelimo) accusing the Bishop of Pemba, capital of Cabo Delgado, Luiz Fernando Lisboa, of financing the armed groups that carry out attacks in Cabo Delgado.
Luiz Fernando Lisboa, a Brazilian, has raised his voice to warn of the humanitarian crisis that is hitting communities in Cabo Delgado province.
The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), a Mozambican civil society organisation, also criticised verbal attacks by commentators close to the ruling party against the bishop of Pemba and expressed its solidarity with Luiz Fernando Lisboa.
On Wednesday, Pope Francis expressed concern about the armed violence in Cabo Delgado, considering that he is following the situation of the populations affected by the armed incursions of groups classified as terrorists in that region.
The head of the Catholic Church expressed his concern during a telephone conversation with the bishop of Pemba, according to the information given by the diocese of the provincial capital of Cabo Delgado at a press conference.
“He said he is very close to the Bishop of Pemba and all the people of Cabo Delgado. And that he is following the situation in our province with great concern and has been praying for us,” said Luiz Fernando Lisboa, adding that the Pope was open to supporting the province in whatever way was necessary.
The armed violence in Cabo Delgado province has already caused the death of at least 1,059 people in almost three years, in addition to the destruction of various infrastructures.
According to the United Nations, the armed violence has led to the flight of 250,000 people from insecure districts further north in the province.
— CIP-Mozambique (@CIPMoz) August 19, 2020