Cyclone Kenneth expected to make landfall on Mozambique’s coast on Thursday
Simon Sirro (file photo).
The Tanzanian police have arrested 104 suspected islamist militants who were planning to cross the border into the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado.
A low level insurgency has been underway in parts of Cabo Delgado since October 2017, focused particularly on Mocimboa da Praia district, but also spilling into the neighbouring districts of Macomia, Palma and Nangade.
The insurgents have killed at least 90 people and burnt down 1.065 houses in attacks against defenceless villages, according to the Mozambican police. In a clear imitation of Middle Eastern terrorist groups, such as the self-styled “Islamic State”, they have often beheaded their victims.
In a press conference on Friday, reported by the Reuters news agency, the Tanzanian Inspector General of Police, Simon Sirro, said security forces had launched operations over the last few months against “criminals” in eastern and southern parts of Tanzania, but that some of them had managed to flee.
“During that operation, some criminals were arrested and some … died, and a few escaped. Those who escaped are the ones trying to cross the border to Mozambique to establish a base,” he told reporters.
Those arrested told police they were going into Mozambique “to join radical camps,” Sirro added.
The trial of 189 people suspected of involvement in terrorist activities in Cabo Delgado began in the provincial capital, Pemba, on 3 October. The accused are 152 Mozambican citizens, 29 Tanzanians and three Somalis. 42 of them are women.
The charges they face include first degree murder, use of banned weapons, membership of a criminal association, and instigation of collective disobedience against public order. The prosecutor, Rodrigo Munguambe, said members of the group were recruited in local mosques by Tanzanian citizens, who promised them large sums of money if they successfully incited people in Cabo Delgado to disrespect and disobey Mozambican state institutions.
The court has been questioning around ten suspects per day – but so far all have denied any involvement in the attacks.Source: AIM