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The Mozambican Public Prosecutor’s Office has added five more names to a list of about 200 people accused of carrying out armed attacks in Cabo Delgado, according to the indictment accessed by Lusa.
South African businessman Andre Hanekom is now singled out as the “financier, logistician and coordinator of the attacks”.
According to the indictment dated December 24, the group was to “create instability and prevent the exploitation of natural gas in the province”.
Cabo Delgado, about 2,000 kilometers north of Maputo, is in the far north of Mozambique, near Tanzania.
“The co-defendants and their cronies intended by their armed actions to create instability and prevent the exploitation of natural gas in Palma, and later to create an independent state that annexes districts of the region of Cabo Delgado and the southern region of Tanzania, [neighboring country],” the indictment stated.
According to the document, the group, composed also by Tanzanian citizens, had a total of five military bases distributed by the administrative post of Mpundanhar, district of Palma, and in the villages of Lilembo and Muangaza, in Mocimboa da Praia.
For Hanekom, the prosecution continues, “he was the one paying the members of the group a monthly value of 10,000 meticais (142 euros), besides providing medicines”, which were supposedly administered by a former employee of the Rural Hospital of Mocímboa da Praia.
There are seven counts charged on the group, such as qualified homicide, heinous crimes, possession of prohibited weapons, criminal association and against the organisation of the State, instigation or provocation to collective disobedience and disturbance of public order and security.
“Against the co-defendants, the Prosecutor’s Office gives the present accusation, as sufficiently proven, and prompts the perpetrators to follow subsequent legal terms until the end, while the co-defendants remain in custody for fear of flight and continued criminal activity,” according to the indictment.
The indictment also indicates that the Mozambican authorities seized several dangerous instruments at Hanekom’s house in Palma, including catanas, gunpowder jars, bows and arrows and 12 rockets.
Lusa contacted Hanekom’s wife, Francis, who considered the charges “totally false” and said her husband is illegally detained at a military base in Cabo Delgado.
“Andre is 100% innocent of all that is being charged. The information that is being circulated is false,” says Francis, who criticizes an alleged disinterest of the South African authorities in investigating the case.
“I’ve written several times to South Africa and never had an answer. I hope it will change now, because what they are doing is an injustice.”
The indictment brings together attacks from October 2017 to April 2018, although more attacks were recorded in the ensuing period.
The names formally added on the indictment are joined by about 200 others who are already on trial, accused of carrying out attacks on remote villages in Cabo Delgado Province.
At the beginning of December, the Human Rights Watch denounced new allegations of summary executions and abuses by Mozambican authorities against alleged perpetrators of attacks on remote settlements north of the country.
The wave of violence in that area began after an armed attack on police stations in Mocímboa da Praia in October 2017.
After Mocímboa da Praia, there have been dozens of attacks that are suspected to be related to the same group, always away from the asphalt.
The attacks have occurred outside the plant’s area of deployment and other infrastructure of the oil companies that will be exploring natural gas in the Afungi peninsula in Palma district, and whose works are progressing normally.
According to official figures, about 100 people, among them residents, alleged assailants and security forces, have died since the wave of violence began Cabo Delgado.Source: Observador