Charles Nwoke, Cabo Delgado, Mozambique
Government of the Republic of Mozambique on Thursday launched a special security force of educated soldiers and police to fight a serious Islamist unrest that has threatened the country’s rich natural gas resources.
This was contained in an announcement made by President Filipe Nyusi during the appointment of the new ministers of defense and interior.
This move indicates a further toughening decision of the government of Mozambique to crackdown Islamic extremists in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
The strong policy is equally targeted at apprehending the high spate of kidnappings both in Cabo Delgado and other parts of the South-East African country, amid allegations that police have been involved in the abductions ravaging the area.
“Both terrorism and kidnapping are crimes that create terror. Terrorism creates terror in Mozambicans, scares and drives away development and investment in our country.
“That is why the fight against terrorism and the fight against kidnapping must be the same,” Police General Commander, Bernardino Rafael said in a speech to security personnel.
Ovy 3,100 mainly African troops, led by a heavy Rwandan contingent, have been deployed to northern Mozambique, while the government says it has regained control over most of the zones.
According to Rafael, the new force is aimed at replacing the foreign military forces once they return to their home countries. He added that Rwanda will take care of their training.
Cristovao Chume, the new defense minister, was the top Mozambican Commander in Cabo Delgado, leading the onslaught against the terrorist groups.
At least 3,340 persons have been reportedly killed and more than 800,000 displaced from that zone since the crisis ensued in 2017.
Northern Mozambique has a long history of controversy The main opposition Renamo Political Party was once a rebel group that fought against the Mozambican government for decades.
The northern region remain quite undeveloped than the southern part of the country, around the capital, Maputo; despite that the region is home to some of the largest natural gas reserves in the world.
Total Petroleum Industry has since suspended its $20 billion natural gas operation in the area considering the crisis ravaging it, thereby preventing the government from the financial benefits derives from the zone.