President Filipe Nyusi warned Mozambicans, particularly residents of the northern province of Cabo Delgado, not to be deceived by the false promises made by the terrorist groups who have been committing atrocities in Cabo Delgado since last October.
The death toll from these attacks, carried out by Islamic fundamentalists known locally as Al-Sunna or Al-Shabaab, now stands at around 100. In some incidents the terrorists have beheaded their victims, in what seems a clear imitation of the self-styled “Islamic State”. Several villages have been burnt down, particularly in Macomia district, sending hundreds of people fleeing into towns or to offshore islands.
Nyusi described the terrorist attacks as “a new phenomenon”. He noted that the attacks had begun last October in Mocimboa da Praia district, and had later spread into Palma, and more recently still into Nangade and Macomia.
Nyusi said the defence and security forces are on the ground to guarantee the security of the people of the province – but the greatest defence of their homes comes from citizens themselves.
Addressing the young people of the province, Nyusi stressed they should not allow themselves to be fooled by promises of eternal happiness.
“It is not true what they say, that you can die on earth but live well up there (in heaven), by killing your father, burning down your father’s house”, he said, pointing out that those who give such orders are in no danger themselves, since they stay in the rear issuing instructions, while the young people who rush forward end up losing their lives.
He dismissed the jihadist argument that the terrorists use to justify their crimes – namely that their intention is to impose a genuine Islamic religion.
He noted that the terrorists are extending their activities by recruiting people from coastal districts in the neighbouring province of Nampula “to die in Palma”.
“Don’t let this happen”, urged Nyusi. “They are sowing mourning in your families”. Some of those drawn into terrorist activities “are young people whom you know. Denounce them very quickly so that we can control the situation”.
Members of the public should turn the criminals over to the authorities – Nyusi pledged that nobody will kill them. He said that, of the over 200 suspects captured, those against whom there was no evidence have been set free, while the others have been turned over to the institutions of justice for trials.