Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for 23 August, 2018.
- Tomorrow: Conference on Population Growth and Sustainable Development in Mozambique: Ways of Realising the Demographic Dividend, organised by the Ministry of Economy and Finance and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in Maputo
The best of the rest:
- Another attack in Palma district leaves one injured and hundreds displaced
- Maxixe police officers jailed for 24 years for killing four
- Xai-Xai airport construction to start in October
- Police detain Chinese couple smuggling rhino horns through Pemba airport
Another attack in Palma district leaves one injured and hundreds displaced (VoA)
A group of insurgents attacked the locality of Pundanhar, in Palma district, on Tuesday night, injuring two persons with a machete, burning 10 houses, and causing villagers to flee across the border to Tanzania or towards Palma. The attack follows a battle near Pundanhar, in which the Mozambican military assaulted an alleged insurgent base in the area a week ago, killing four insurgents and capturing one of their leaders.
The attack seems like a way for insurgents to show the flag, to prove they’ve not been defeated, in an area where they recently suffered a major setback. More similar attacks in western Palma district seem likely in the near term.
Maxixe police officers jailed for 24 years for killing four (DW)
Four police officers in the Inhambane town of Maxixe have been jailed for 24 years for killing four people in May 2017, in a rural area in the Funhalouro district. The victims were four young men, employees of a construction company, which the court heard had been arrested without charge. The condemned men were also fined between 15,000 and two million meticais.
Our sources tell us the young men were killed in order to get a large amount of money in their possession. The full story seems not to have come out in court – but nevertheless it is reassuring to see police officers facing justice.
Xai-Xai airport construction to start in October (O País)
Transport minister Carlos Mesquita said yesterday in Xai-Xai that work on that city’s airport, funded by a $60m Chinese grant, will begin in October once a contractor is chosen through tenders that will be launched in China and Mozambique “soon” – apparently contradicting the words of President Nyusi who said in April that the tender had already been launched in China.
It remains unclear why either Mozambique or China wants an airport at Xai-Xai. A Chinese company is mining heavy sands in Gaza, but exports will go by sea. Cynics might suggest t has to do with the export of illicit precious stones and ivory coming from Gaza province, particularly the areas bordering Zimbabwe and South Africa. Even among Mozambican ministers there is strong opposition to the controversial project.
Police detain Chinese couple smuggling rhino horns through Pemba airport (O País)
A Chinese couple heading for their home country were detained at Pemba airport in possession of 3.6kg of rhino horns hidden in their suitcase, the local police force announced, saying it is unclear where the horns originated from.
Despite attempts by police to curb rhino horn traffic, it continues through Mozambican airports. Since January, 31 poachers and 14 hunting rifles have been apprehended in the area of Magude and Massingir in southern Mozambique next to Kruger Park, known to be a corridor for rhino horn activities.
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