AFRICA/MOZAMBIQUE - Indiscriminate attacks on villages: religious conflict fomented

Tuesday, 31 March 2020 armed groups   jihadists   isis   violence   religious fundamentalism   religion   human rights  

Africa rivista

Maputo (Agenzia Fides) - Whether they are jihadists or simple bandits, nobody knows exactly. The only thing that is sure is that the attacks on the villages and towns of Cabo Delgado, in Mozambique, continue unabated. More and more violent. "According to international media, the attacks are carried out by Islamists linked to ISIS" – explain some missionaries who live on the spot and who, for security reasons, want to remain anonymous, to Agenzia Fides, but nobody knows exactly who they are. "Some say young locals. Some militiamen captured by the police have confessed to having joined the group because they were offered money. Certainly there are also foreigners: Tanzanians or Mozambicans who have been to Tanzania and have returned. For this reason, the law enforcement officials have tightened border controls".
Local Muslims - our sources continue - have never shown violent or intolerant attitudes. Islam has merged with local culture and has given rise to an open and tolerant faith. Relations between Christians and Muslims have always been friendly. "There is great mutual respect, full tolerance. We work and live together in serenity", the missionaries continue. "The first victims of these attacks are Muslims. So much so that the Islamic community is terrified. But even Christians are afraid of being victims of these senseless assaults".
In the last two assaults carried out last week, one at the police headquarters in the city of Quissanga, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, and the other at the Defense and Security Forces barracks in Mocimboa da Praia, the militiamen apparently hoisted the black flag of the Caliphate. Doubts remain about a war with a religious background or that wants to use the religious factor to forment violence.
The attacks began in October 2017 and since then there have been between 350 and 700 victims. The violence forced 150,000 people to leave their homes and caused a cholera epidemic that killed at least 20 people. "The latest attacks were very well planned – Fides sources point out - the government structures have been burnt in a systematic way. The religious nature emerged only recently. In Mozambique it is thought that there are particular interests that are hidden behind religious coverage".
The area is very rich. In Palma, there is one of the largest natural gas deposits on the planet. At 350 kilometers South-West, on the other hand, there is the largest deposit of rubies and other precious stones in the world. Two treasures that Maputo must absolutely defend to protect its future.
The government sent numerous military and police forces to the scene, but that was not enough. Recently the executive asked for Russia's help. The Wagner Group arrived on the scene, mercenaries already active in Libya (alongside General Khalifa Haftar) and in the Central African Republic (in defense of the mineral deposits exploited by Russian companies). The risk is that a new internal conflict opens up which could lead to a new humanitarian crisis. (EC) (Agenzia Fides, 31/3/2020)

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