Africa-Press – Mozambique. Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi declared on Thursday that the defence and security forces have killed a man he described as an influential leader of the terrorist groups operating in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
Speaking at the close of a course for police Special Forces, at the Makandzene Special Forces Training School, in Maluana, Maputo province, Nyusi named this terrorist leader as Muhamudu, and said he had been involved in the 2019 massacre of 51 young men in Xitaxi village, Muidumbe district. The youths were murdered because they refused to join the ranks of the terrorists.
Accompanied by the Defence and Interior Ministers, Jaime Neto and Amade Miquidade, and representatives of the Rwandan contingent that is fighting alongside the Mozambican forces, Nyusi watched the course graduates demonstrate simulations of a hostage rescue, of a surprise attack, and of reaction to an ambush.
This training, the President declared, is happening at a time when the Mozambican forces and their allies need to defend the gains made on the battlefield against the ISIS terrorists.
“I said in Pretoria (at Tuesday’s extraordinary summit of the SADC defence and security troika) and again in Maputo, that the successes our colleagues are enjoying on the ground must be consolidated. And that’s what’s happening”, said Nyusi. “After the action in Awasse (in Mocimboa da Praia district), with the help of the Rwandan forces, we occupied several enemy bases.”
“There were long battles, but we cannot yet consider that the situation is secure”, he stressed. But “thanks to the command we gave to train up young people, they have been involved, and just yesterday they killed one of the leaders of the group, called Muhamudu”.
The General Commander of the Mozambican police, Bernadino Rafael, gave more details of this clash, which was a joint operation between Mozambican and Rwandan forces, who ambushed a terrorist unit.
“This man was an individual who was responsible for spreading terror in Cabo Delgado, since the start of the terrorist phenomenon”, said Rafael. “He was killed in Limala, nine kilometres from the Mbau administrative post”.
The terrorist group “tried to escape from the action of our forces”, Rafael added, “but they did not all make it. It was Muhamudu and his companion, named Abdulaim, who in 2019 murdered 51 young people in Xitaxi village. Abdulaim was killed in a clash with our forces in late 2020, and yesterday (Wednesday) it was the turn of this influential terrorist”.
“In this ambush, two terrorists were killed, and others fled”, said Rafael. “Right now the joint forces of Mozambique and Rwanda are encircling the zone and are pursuing the enemy”.
Nyusi also demanded loyalty and respect for the law from police officers. “Once you are police agents, you will always be police agents”, he said. “So you must respect the Constitution. You are working with colleagues who are not Mozambicans (part of the Rwandan contingent consists of police officers), and with this exchange of experiences you can carry out missions, not only in Mozambique, but also at regional and even international level. No-one is authorized to disrespect the law, not even the instituted powers”.
Nyusi warned that the sophisticated methods used by organized crime and by terrorism demand a reaction from the State to face these challenges, which is why there have been changes in the training of the police.
“The enemies are multiplying and changing”, he said. “We don’t want merely defensive forces, we also want forces that can react”. After training “you will be prepared to combat in high risk situations”.
Nyusi also wanted to see an end to the armed actions of the self-styled “Renamo Military Junta”, led by Mariano Nhongo. He said it was unacceptable that the country should be fighting two wars, and urged the Defence and Security Forces to “neutralize” Nhongo.
“As for the Renamo Military Junta, I have already given Nhongo the opportunity to surrender voluntarily”, said Nyusi. “I’m not going to speak much about this. I demand that you end this dossier”.
Nhongo split from the mainstream of Renamo in 2019, refusing to recognize Ossufo Momade as the new leader of Renamo, even though he was elected at a Renamo Congress in July of that year.
He did not accept the peace agreement signed by Nyusi and Momade in August 2019, and continued to stage sporadic attacks, mainly ambushes on the main roads in the central provinces of Manica and Sofala.
But many of Nhongo’s men, including some of his closest lieutenants, have defected to accept the demobilization package offered by the government. Since January, the Junta has only carried out one attack.