The National Institute for Disaster Risk Management and Reduction (INGD) in Mozambique has announced that about 30,000 people who remain hidden in the district of Palma need urgent support for the next 30 days.
“Since the 24th, about 30 thousand people they are estimated to be displaced persons who are in Palma, ”said the director of the Prevention and Mitigation Area at INGD, César Tembe.
Tembe said that humanitarian assistance to the said group of displaced persons is estimated at around 41 million meticais (just over 522 thousand euros) for the next 30 days alone. Victims of the Palma attacks immediately need food, medication and medical and psychosocial assistance, he added.
“For this group of people resources are already being sent and we are mobilizing more resources, ”said Tembe, without going into details. The approximately 30,000 displaced people who left the village but did not leave the district of Palma, join about 6500 people who were evacuated from the village to the capital of the province of Cabo Delgado, Pemba.
Part of the displaced people who are in the city of Pemba are in two accommodation centers and another portion has been welcomed by their respective families, said the director of the Prevention and Mitigation Area at INGD.
César Tembe emphasized that the mass flight caused by the attacks of armed groups on the village of Palma “Increased” the number of displaced persons generated by armed violence in the north and center of the country, with the figure now exceeding 722 thousand people forced to flee their homes.
This Monday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) denounced that Tanzania has rejected receiving about 600 displaced Mozambicans, survivors of the jihadist attack.
“About 600 Mozambicans looking for asylum were repelled from Tanzania“, He said in a statement, expressing“ concern ”regarding the fate of these people“ forcibly resent ”to his country.
The Mozambican army resumed, this Monday, the control, at least partial, of the city, according to the Mozambican authorities.
Security consultant IHS Markit predicts that armed groups active in Cabo Delgado province will attack the provincial capital, Pemba, within six months, if security conditions in the region do not change “significantly”.
According to the report, by analyst Eva Renon, “it is very likely that (the attack on Palma) required more planning and a greater number of combatants than in previous attacks, demonstrating greater capacity”.
The Government’s response to the Islamic insurgency, he adds, has “been weak so far”, especially “due to lack of coordination and capabilities of the police and FADM (armed forces), assisted by several private military companies (for example, from Russia and South Africa) ”, along with a reluctance to accept offers of direct foreign military intervention, including from the African Union and Southern African Development Community.
For IHS Markit, “the scale of the attack on Palma has the potential to encourage the Mozambican government to accept greater coordination between its forces and the American and Portuguese forces already present in the country”.
“Unless the security situation changes significantly, in the next six months, insurgents are likely to will try to capture Pemba which, in addition to hosting Total’s team and logistics, has an airport and a container port, ”he says.
Among the targets in the provincial capital will be hotels, government facilities and employees and assets from non-governmental organizations, the Catholic Church and the United Nations.
If they capture Pemba, he said, insurgents are likely to look for targets in the west, such as Montepuez and Balama, areas rich in ruby and graphite deposits, respectively, with the aim of “control mining operations, with associated risks of kidnapping, injury and death for employees and subcontractors ”.
IHS also considers likely attacks against Mtwara, in Tanzania, “targeting public spaces like the market to inflict mass victims or against government assets and officials”.
“However, insurgents would probably not be able to capture and maintain Mtwara because Tanzanian security forces are more capable than Mozambican forces and are experienced in combating insurgents linked to the Islamic State.”
Last year, insurgents captured the village of Mocímboa da Praia and surrounding roads, “thus ensuring a steady stream of revenue from the taxation of the illicit trade in minerals and drugs that prevails ”in the area.
Mocímboa da Praia, says IHS Markit, has been an important transit point for narcotics for over 40 years, mainly from Afghanistan and Pakistan, bound for South Africa, Western Europe, the United States and other destinations.
“Access to these resources has increased (insurgents) recruitment capacity, allowing them to offer relatively high wages to local inhabitants in poverty ”, in addition to“ attracting FADM deserters, resulting in increased FADM information leakage, as well as greater access to weapons and ammunition, also contributing to reducing morale among FADM troops ”, he adds.
The increase in incidents since the beginning of 2019 will be linked to collaboration with criminal networks in Cabo Delgado and increasing revenue streams.
Currently, the consultant says, all roads north of Pemba and Montepuez and east of Mueda are under the control of insurgents and road ambushes are systematic, making the sea route from Palma to Pemba the safest.
Analysis of conflict data shows that insurgent tactics seem to have changed, from destroying villages “to controlling the territory, increasing the use of beheadings and relatively more sophisticated attacks on larger and strategically more important cities like Mocímboa da Praia and Palma” , concludes.
Portuguese Bar Association asks for support
The Human Rights Commission of the Portuguese Bar Association called this Monday for the support of Portuguese public and private entities to the Mozambican government and population.
“It is essential, in addition to the help of the international community, that Portugal also all kinds of humanitarian support, food and logistics for the Mozambican people who are victims of these violent aggressions, also helping with faster and more effective means the Mozambican Government in the military control of this territory and the stabilization of peace, in the defense of human rights and in respect for the sovereignty of Mozambique ”, he said in a statement sent to the Lusa agency.
“At a time when the Cabo Delgado region faces what is considered to be one of the worst terrorist attacks since the beginning of the conflict in the region, in 2017, the CDHOA urges all government and non-governmental organizations to assist that country to all levels in order to face the lack of goods and services that do not exist there ”, he adds.
In the statement, the Human Rights Commission of the Bar Association stressed that it was “thousands the innocent people murdered savagely, beaten and forcibly evicted from their places of residence and separated families who are unaware of the whereabouts of their spouses, parents, children and siblings ”.
The violence unleashed more than three years ago in the province of Cabo Delgado gained a new escalation a week ago, when armed groups attacked, for the first time, the village of Palma, which is about six kilometers from the multibillion-dollar natural gas projects.
The attacks caused dozens of deaths and forced the flight of thousands of residents of Palma, aggravating a humanitarian crisis that has affected about 700,000 people in the province since the beginning of the conflict, according to United Nations data.
In the center of the country, armed actions attributed to the Junta Militar, a dissent from the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo), the main opposition party, caused the death of at least 30 people and the forced displacement of hundreds of families.
Mandatory curfew in five more cities due to covid-19
However, the Mozambican President announced the extension of curfew to five more cities, due to the increase in the positivity rate of covid-19 and maintained the restrictions in force since the beginning of the year.
“In view of the increase in the rate of positivity in recent weeks at the level of the provinces of Gaza, Sofala, Manica, Tete, Cabo Delgado and Niassa, the curfew currently in force in the metropolitan area of Greater Maputo is extended to all capital cities” of those provinces, Filipe Nyusi said.
In this sense, the cities of Manica, capital of Manica province, city of Tete, capital of Tete, Xai-Xai, capital of Gaza, Pemba, capital of Cabo Delgado, and Lichinga, capital of Niassa, are now under mandatory curfew.
In addition to extending the curfew to the capitals of the six provinces, the Mozambican President maintains this measure for the metropolitan region of Maputo, which has been under this restriction for 60 days.