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The Africa Report - - CONTENTS -

Ahead of gen­eral elec­tions planned for Oc­to­ber 2019, a se­ries of se­cu­rity crises have shaken the Frente de Lib­er­tação de Moçam­bique gov­ern­ment of Pres­i­dent Filipe Nyusi, which is al­ready on the back foot due to the dis­as­trous eco­nomic im­pact of the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment’s huge se­cret loans (see TAR101, June 2018). Peace talks with the Re­sistên­cia Na­cional Moçam­bi­cana (Renamo) op­po­si­tion/ armed group are in doubt af­ter the May death of former rebel leader Afonso Dh­lakama, and the gov­ern­ment is re­spond­ing with vi­o­lence to a grow­ing Is­lamist in­sur­gency in the north, home to large nat­u­ral gas re­serves that multi­na­tion­als want to ex­ploit. At the time of his death, Dh­lakama was ne­go­ti­at­ing with Nyusi about se­cu­rity re­forms and devo­lu­tion – two key is­sues that need to be ad­dressed in or­der to cre­ate a vi­able peace plan. The party chose Os­sufo Mo­made, a former guer­rilla fighter, to be the in­terim party leader and con­tinue talks with the gov­ern­ment. The mil­i­tary is said to op­pose the in­te­gra­tion of Renamo fight­ers, so Mo­made may have doubts about the gov­ern­ment’s de­mands for dis­ar­ma­ment, which would limit Renamo’s pow­ers to desta­bilise. A new rebel group, the Is­lamist Ah­lus Sun­nah wal Ja­maah, en­tered the fray last Oc­to­ber. Some 30 men at­tacked three po­lice sta­tions in Mocím­boa da Praia, in Cabo Del­gado prov­ince. Com­posed of young and marginalised fight­ers, Ah­lus Sun­nah wal Ja­maah has par­al­lels with Nige­ria’s Boko Haram. Ig­nor­ing Nige­ria’s lessons with those Is­lamist mil­i­tants, Nyusi’s gov­ern­ment ar­rested nearly 500 peo­ple, closed mosques, and bombed vil­lages sus­pected of host­ing Ah­lus Sun­nah wal Ja­maah mem­bers, while the in­tel­li­gence agency is ne­go­ti­at­ing with Erik Prince, the founder of pri­vate se­cu­rity com­pany Black­wa­ter, to pro­tect oil and gas in­fra­struc­ture. Non­govern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tion Hu­man Rights Watch es­ti­mates that the Is­lamist at­tacks and the gov­ern­ment’s re­sponse to them have killed about 40 peo­ple and al­ready dis­placed 3,000. Mozam­bique’s gas of­fers po­ten­tial for eco­nomic growth, but, as with the gov­ern­ment’s se­cret loans, many Mozam­bi­cans worry that such big deals will bring lit­tle pos­i­tive change for the ci­ti­zens of the coun­try, more than half of whom live in poverty.

Vil­lages have been torched in the north

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