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The Cabo Delgado provincial court in northern Mozambique, sitting in the provincial capital, Pemba, on Wednesday sentenced nine people to 16 year jail terms for their part in the islamist insurgency that began in October 2017.
According to the report of the trial in Thursday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, the nine were Tanzanian and Burundian citizens. Three others, a Mozambican woman and two Tanzanian men, were acquitted for lack of sufficient evidence. It appears that the woman was arrested solely because she is the wife of one of the insurgents.
In the case of five others, judgement has been postponed. The judge, Geraldo Patricio, ruled that investigations into their involvement must continue, and so a separate, autonomous case against them has been opened.
The nine convicted were found guilty of conspiracy against the state, attacks on public order and tranquillity, instigation to collective disobedience, and membership of a criminal association.
In delivering his verdict, Patricio said they had taken part in campaigns to instigate the population to disrespect state institutions, and particularly not to take their children to state schools . They also spread “messages that defended religious fundamentalism”.
But it was not proved that they had carried forbidden weapons or had committed “heinous crimes” (such as first degree murder).
The judge added that the Tanzanians had been arrested when they were allegedly trying to visit South Africa.
The three people acquitted were accused of more serious crimes, including murder and arson, but the prosecution could not prove its case against them.
This was the fourth trial of insurgents in Pemba, and three more are in the pipeline. Just as in the previous trials, journalists were not allowed to attend the proceedings – which means that the public has been kept in the dark about such matters as the motivations of the insurgents and how they were recruited.Source: AIM
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