The ruling party in Mozambique, Frelimo, on Friday called for a general mobilisation against terrorists in Cabo Delgado province, noting that the defence of sovereignty is the country’s primary function.
“The terrorist attacks in Cabo Delgado challenge all Mozambicans, regardless of tribe, ethnicity, race and religion, to commit themselves against this barbarism,” said the head of the Frelimo, Sergio Pantie, at the close of the parliamentary session.
The Mozambicans, he said, have the primary responsibility of defending their sovereignty, and international partners will complement the fight against the armed groups carrying out attacks in the northern region of the country.
“The problem of terrorism in Cabo Delgado is a Mozambican problem, but it is also a problem of the Southern African region, and each country should assume its responsibilities,” he said.
The Frelimo bench leader called for the equipping and modernisation of the defence and security forces (FDS) to be up to the security challenges, expressing confidence in the final victory against terrorism.
“United, we will defeat terrorism, our sovereignty is inalienable,” he said.
He also urged Mozambicans to strengthen solidarity with the victims of armed violence in Cabo Delgado province.
On Thursday, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi said the country will not be able, alone, to eradicate terrorism because it is a phenomenon that does not respect borders, thanking international aid.
“We in Mozambique recognise that alone we will not be able to eradicate this scourge, hence we welcome the expression of solidarity and interest in supporting us in this fight,” Nyusi said.
“The defence of our homeland and sovereignty will become sustainable and lasting by empowering and modernising the FDS, because [external] support will never be forever,” he said.
Armed groups have terrorised Cabo Delgado since 2017, with some attacks claimed by the jihadist group Islamic State, in a wave of violence that has led to more than 2,500 deaths according to the ACLED conflict registration project and 714,000 displaced people according to the Mozambican government.
An attack in Palma, near the gas project under construction, on 24 March, caused dozens of deaths and injuries, with no official balance announced.
The Mozambican authorities announced they were controlling the town, but the attack led oil company Total to abandon the site of the project that was scheduled to start production in 2024 and on which many of Mozambique’s economic growth expectations for the next decade are anchored.