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“Settlement Is Possible Despite New Attacks” – Cabo Delgado Governor

“Settlement Is Possible Despite New Attacks” – Cabo Delgado Governor

Governor of Cabo Delgado Valige Tauabo told Lusa on Monday that the “macabre” acts that have plagued the south of the province  for the past fortnight are carried out by “groups” of “violent extremists”, but that he still believes in reconciliation.

At issue are several attacks in villages in districts in the south of Cabo Delgado, especially in Chiùre, after insurgent action having, since 2017, been concentrated mainly in the centre and south of the province.

“There is a small group going on scaring people in the communities, and the people in the villages, just hearing that it is them, that the extremists are coming, panic,” the governor acknowledged to Lusa in the provincial capital, Pemba.

These are “macabre actions carried out by violent extremists, that even lead to terrorism”, he pointed out.

The extremist group Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for several attacks and fatalities in the last two weeks, especially in the south of Cabo Delgado, with houses, churches and small hospitals destroyed, actions that have increased since December, after a relatively calm year in 2023.

“In the south of the province, actions like those carried out in the north and centre were not common,” Tauabo said, while recognizing that the attacks have caused “panic in communities”, especially in Chiùre.

“They were all agitated. And no wonder,” he admitted.

The local authority estimates that, in recent days alone, more than 13,000 people have already fled to the town of Chiùre, the last relatively safe refuge in the district, with newly displaced people constantly arriving after days of walking.

Insurgent attacks in Cabo Delgado began in 2017, but the governor recalls that, since November, 2022, people who had moved from the north and centre of the province to districts in the south “seeking safety” – estimated at more than one million people – began to return to their villages of origin.

“In 2023, well-being was already being sensed, because the entire displaced population was already [back] in their villages. (…) But at the end of 2023, small pockets [of violence] began to appear, some niches, with interventions in the villages, but with a slightly different approach to what was experienced in the past,” Governot Tauabo explained.

The Mozambican President, Filipe Nyusi, has publicly reiterated in recent months the call for young Mozambicans allegedly recruited by these groups to return to their communities, ensuring that they will be well received there.

The governor of Cabo Delgado also believes reconciliation is necessary, and would allow the “many” Mozambicans who were “forced to join” the insurgent groups to return.

“It’s a very strong message, especially when it comes from the head of state. We also noticed that many people surrendered, and it was during that period when there was nothing,” he stressed, believing that there is still one “last group of young people” on the ground who do not accept the reconciliation offered.

“They think that returning means coming with their blunt instruments to the villages. So, this is what will be clarified by the forces in the next days,” Governor Tauabo said.

In addition to insurgent attacks, Cabo Delgado is struggling with the effects of climate change, namely extreme heat and heavy rains that have cut essential roads and left several villages isolated in recent weeks.

A scenario which compels the governor of Cabo Delgado to once again request the attention of all those “who [have] already supported the province so much” in the past, “when the situation was even more difficult”.

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“To once again watch over us, and help us retain some hope,” he concluded.




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