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Photo: Presidente Filipe Nyusi@NyusiConfioemti / Facebook
Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi declared on Monday that he is willing to enter into dialogue with the opponents of the government, but warned “we are also ready to pursue, in all corners of the country, those who have been killing Mozambicans, so that we can hold them responsible for their crimes”.
He was speaking at the Monument to the Mozambican Heroes in Maputo, on the occasion of Heroes’ Day, the 51st anniversary of the assassination of the founder and first president of the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo), Eduardo Mondlane, on 3 February 1969.
Nyusi claimed that the defence and security forces of today are following in the footsteps of the heroes of the liberation war. He said that joint work between the local population and the defence forces will contribute to ending the attacks by terrorist gangs in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
“The people have decided to join with the defence and security force”, he declared. “This is an experience that our own armed struggle proved to be effective in the fight against criminals”.
He accused the insurgents, believed to be inspired by Islamic fundamentalism, of receiving financial support from inside the country and abroad. “The criminals, financed by external and internal forces, are murdering members of the public and destroying houses and other infrastructures”, he said, describing these acts as “heinous”.
Nyusi also mentioned the attacks carried out by the self-styled “Renamo Military Junta” against vehicles in the central provinces of Manica and Sofala. After the peace agreement he had signed on 6 August with Renamo leader Ossufo Momade, “it is lamentable that we are witnessing attacks perpetrated by Mozambicans who say they are Renamo dissidents”.
The Junta, he said, was protesting about matters that are internal to Renamo, “but have decided to attack the public”.
On Heroes’ Day, Nyusi continued, it was appropriate to reflect not only on the achievements of the heroes of the past, “but also on the contribution that each one of us is making to Mozambique”.
“We hope you will continue to support the deference and security forces, since these are the real heroes of today”, he urged. “These criminals, starting from districts in Cabo Delgado, want to destroy the well-being of Mozambicans”.
A message from the ruling Frelimo Party called on Mozambicans to value the blood shed by the heroes who had fought for the country’s independence. They should follow the teachings of those heroes, “and not echo those who, at all cost, want to neo-colonise the country”.
Frelimo reiterated that Mozambique deserves peace. “The country needs citizens who use their knowledge and intelligence to enhance it, and not those who, with their Machiavellian acts, are destroying the economy, killing and maiming defenceless civilians, and destroying the social fabric”.
Speaking to reporters after the ceremony, Defence Minister Jaime Neto, urged the inhabitants of Cabo Delgado to denounce to the authorities anyone whom they knew to be a member of the terrorist groups.
Insurgents must be living alongside the ordinary citizens of Cabo Delgado, Neto said. They have made no public pronouncement, issued no manifesto or set of demands, and to date their leadership is faceless. But somebody must know how they are, since “they live in the same houses as the great majority of Cabo Delgado citizens”.
“It is important to denounce these people, so that we see if can unite the efforts of our defence forced and of our communities”, said Neto.
Asked about reports that the multinational oil and gas companies operating in Cabo Delgado are asking for a strengthened military presence to protect the areas where they are working, Neto replied “They have to do everything to protect their interests”.
He insisted that any increased military presence would be Mozambican, not foreign. “The defence and security forces are working to protect those production units”, Neves said, “and we are continuing to guarantee the protection of all these investments”.
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