Tanzania caught suspected terrorists headed for Mocímboa da Praia, Mozambique says


Tanzanian authorities “de-activated” a group of suspected insurgents attempting to cross the border to Mozambique to go to Mocímboa da Praia this week, Mozambique’s foreign minister Veronica Macamo told journalists in Maputo on Wednesday.

Speaking after the new Tanzanian High Commissioner to Mozambique had presented his diplomatic credentials to Mozambique’s President Nyusi, Macamo said she had received information about the incident through the media, but that the Tanzanian government had confirmed to Mozambique that the people arrested had been heading for Mocímboa da Praia.

LISTEN: Foreign minister Veronica Macamo answers questions about terrorism in Cabo Delgado, 12 August 2020

The town of Mocímboa da Praia has been the scene of heavy fighting over the last week, including with insurgents at least temporarily holding its strategic port, as first reported by Zitamar News on 10 August. The insurgents have recently said they intend to make the town the capital of their caliphate, RFI reported today.

Mozambique’s defence and security forces (Forcas de Defesa e Seguranca, FDS) have killed 59 insurgents and destroyed six of their camps in “offensive actions” in their attempts to foil “attempt by terrorists to occupy the town of Mocímboa da Praia,” according to a statement from the FDS Joint Command on 12 August.

The statement did not confirm or deny that insurgents had control of the town and its port. The Joint Command statement did say that “terrorists” had carried out attacks “on the villages of Anga, Buji, Awasse and the town of Mocímboa da Praia, having infiltrated the communities.”

Mozambique needs to investigate further to find out what the exact objective was of the group arrested in Tanzania, Macamo said — but added that she was satisfied that Tanzania had arrested them. “It’s an advantage, because if those people are spread throughout Tanzania or Mozambique, they’d be creating situations that we don’t want them to create: deaths, and destruction, and above all terror and panic.”

The new Tanzanian High Commissioner, Phaustine Martin Kasike, did not speak publicly after yesterday’s ceremony, as new ambassadors usually do, Mozambican newssheet Mediafax reported — noting also that Macamo made no mention of terrorism in her speech after the event, until she was asked about the topic by a journalist present.

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