Mozambique: Police admit military escorts from Pemba
Maputo — Mozambican Police Commander General Bernadino Rafael confirmed that military escorts were organized on Sunday and Monday for vehicles entering and leaving Pemba, capital of the northern province of Cabo Delgado, according to an article in the Thursday edition of the independent newspaper “O Pais” daily.
The escorts were briefly introduced following attacks by Islamist terrorists in the district of Ancuabe. The first Ancuabe attack took place against the village of Nanduli, about 100 kilometers from Pemba, on June 5. Over the past weekend, the terrorists have come very close by attacking the villages of Intutupue and Nipataco, some 50 kilometers from the city.
This situation sometimes made military escorts necessary. “You have to forgive us,” Rafael said. “This situation, which interferes with the lives of citizens, will always happen when you sense that there is danger. Nobody will like it, but sometimes you have to act to prevent harm.”
But the permanent secretary of the defense ministry, Casimiro Mueio, was unaware of any military escort. On Tuesday, he told “O Pais” that he had no information on the organization of military escorts on Sunday and Monday. “I don’t think there are escorts,” he said.
Terrorist groups have also emerged in Metuge district, 40 kilometers from Pemba, prompting an exodus of fearful villagers seeking safety. On Tuesday evening, according to the newspaper “Mediafax”, there was an attack on the administrative post of Mieze, in Metuge, during which two vehicles were destroyed and three houses were set on fire.
The police, however, denied there was a link between this attack and previous raids in Ancuabe and considered the Mieze incident, despite the extensive damage, to be “a common crime”.
In Mecufi district, south of Pemba, there are reports of at least one person being beheaded in a terrorist attack. In fear of further terrorist attacks, people are now fleeing their villages in search of safety.