Maputo — Mozambican Defence Minister Jaime Neto on Friday urged the staff of his Ministry to draw up plans to fight against terrorism in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, and against the self-styled Renamo Military Junta in Manica and Sofala, in the centre of the country, over the next 12 months.
He was speaking at the closing session of a meeting of his Ministry’s Coordinating Council. He expressed his concern at the armed violence in the three provinces – hence his instruction to Ministry officials to draw up plans to respond to the problem.
The 12 month time frame seems to indicate that Neto does not believe that either of the conflicts can be solved in the immediate future.
No other details were made public at the end of the meeting, where the armed forces (FADM) reiterated their commitment to defend the country’s sovereignty and to fight against both the terrorists in Cabo Delgado, and the Renamo Military Junta.
Meanwhile, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, has donated about 100,000 euros (121,000 US dollars) to support the victims of terrorist attacks in Cabo Delgado.
The Bishop of Pemba, the provincial capital, Luis Fernando Lisboa, told reporters the money would be used to build health facilities in the centres where displaced people are being resettled. “We shall invest the 100,000 euros in building two health posts in resettlement areas, one in Montepuez district, and one in Chiure”, said the bishop.
The offer from the Pope came in response to an appeal launched by Bishop Lisboa, to assist the hundreds of thousands of people displaced from the homes by jihadist raids. The Bishop has been heading a campaign entitled “Juntos por Cabo Delgado” (Together for Cabo Delgado).
A delegation from the Episcopal Conference of Southern Africa visited Cabo Delgado last week, at Lisboa’s invitation, and declared that it is urgent to reach a solution to the terrorist attacks, and end the suffering of the displaced people.
Jose Luis, the Bishop of Manzini, told reporters that the visit was intended to show “solidarity with the Bishop of Pemba, and with the people of Cabo Delgado”, and also so that the bishops could see for themselves the reality of the displaced people.
Inacaio Saure, the archbishop of Nampula, said the displaced “have lost everything, even their own dignity”. He believed “the end of the war is the definitive solution to the problem”.