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2 omicron cases found in Mozambique; IS training 2000 northern fighters

Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for 1 December 2021


Today: Former president Armando Guebuza has not been included in the new list of “hidden-debts” hearings

This is the second time Guebuza has been left out. The first incident was attributed to inside manoeuvring within the Supreme Court, which was in charge of the press release related to the calendar.

  • Friday: The “Civil Society Action for Social Cohesion in Northern Mozambique” program launches in Pemba, Cabo Delgado province

The latest from Zitamar News:

Cabo Ligado Weekly: 22-28 November 2021

  • Insurgency spreads to neighbouring Niassa province
  • National grid again extends throughout Cabo Delgado
  • Major security gains in areas around LNG projects

Also available in Portuguese here

The best of the rest:

  • 2 omicron cases detected in Mozambique (Reuters)
  • Sharp rise in car hijackings on South-Africa Mozambique border (Daily Maverick)
  • Bank of Mozambique fines 7 credit institutions (Lusa, Carta de Moçambique)
  • Metical records 6 months of stability against the dollar (Carta de Moçambique)
  • Covid-19 measures restricted constitutional rights, says IMD (O País)
  • Insurgents kill 2 people and abduct 2 children in Chitoio (DW)
  • IS training 2000 Mozambican fighters (The National)

2 omicron cases detected in Mozambique (Reuters)
Mozambique has detected two "suspected" cases of the omicron covid-19 variant, said the health minister Armindo Tiago on Tuesday. Neither of the cases has a history of international travel. One of them was asymptomatic and the other registered mild symptoms.

Sharp rise in car hijackings on South-Africa Mozambique border (Daily Maverick)
Residents of Manguzi, Umkhanyakude district in South Africa, say they are under siege from cross-border criminal networks who hijack their cars and smuggle them across the porous border into Mozambique, newspaper Daily Maverick reports. Locals say they are defenceless against these heavily armed groups and accuse the police and the government of failing to protect them. According to Daily Maverick, car dealers from Durban and other parts of KwaZulu-Natal, are lured to Umkhanyakude district with promises of big contracts, where they are robbed, abducted and even killed. There is a lucrative market for 4x4 and other expensive vehicles across the border, which could explain the spike in car theft and smuggling into Mozambique. South African police minister Bheki Cele admitted to Daily Maverick that the South Africa-Mozambique border presents "huge challenges," with violent crimes in "Manguzi, Kosi Bay and other areas in the Umkhanyakude district."
In the past, South African police were allowed into Mozambique to check cars suspected as having been stolen in Mozambique. Mozambican elites reacted angrily at this joint effort since they were the potential beneficiaries of those cars known as “carros quentes” (hot vehicles). One of the most efficient roadblocks was installed at Salamanga, across the Maputo river, precisely to curb vehicles smuggled through the KZN border in Ponta do Ouro area.

Bank of Mozambique fines 7 credit institutions (Lusa, Carta de Moçambique)
The Bank of Mozambique issued fines on Tuesday to seven credit institutions for failing to comply with the legislation to counter money laundering. Four finance companies and nine illegal financial operators were also fined, with total fines amounting to MZN159m ($2.49m) for the period February 2020 to June 2021. The fined institutions include banks such as BCI, one of the largest in Mozambique, which received a fine of MZN53m ($830,500), as well as Standard Bank, which was fined MZN12m ($188,124). The sanctions were imposed because the bodies have not complied with their duty to verify the identification of customers, preserve documents, and report suspicious transactions, among other breaches.

Metical records 6 months of stability against the dollar (Carta de Moçambique)
The value of the metical has been stable for the past six months at MZN63 – MZN64 per dollar, reports Carta de Moçambique. This contrasts with the forecasts by Fitch Solutions and the economy and finance minister, which had predicted the metical would further depreciate by the end of 2021. Carta notes that in 2020 the metical was significantly weaker against the dollar at MZN72.
Some analysts believe the stability of the metical owes in part to an effort by the central bank to maintain the currency’s value.

Covid-19 measures restricted constitutional rights, says IMD (O País)
Measures brought in to fight covid-19 have restricted constitutional rights, said the Institute for Multiparty Democracy (IMD) in a press release. IMD says that social distancing laws were used to prevent demonstrations, such as a students' protest against further benefits to politicians and a march organised by doctors to protest the rise in kidnappings. "These limitations on constitutional rights, when not properly substantiated, increase social tension and are then used to give Mozambique a low ranking in international evaluations of the democracy index,” says the institute. IMD added that the instability in Cabo Delago and junta attacks in the central region also pose challenges to democracy. Ways to restore and strengthen democratic practice include more dialogue between parties and more inclusive and decentralised governance models.

Insurgents kill 2 people and abduct 2 children in Chitoio (DW)
Insurgents attacked Chitoio village in Macomia district, Cabo Delgado province on Monday, killing two people and abducting two children. Residents told Lusa that hooded and armed men attacked at night and set fire to several homes. An unnamed local militia source quoted by DW explained, "We were preparing for a traditional ceremony, which involves taking children to the woods, when we heard shots nearby and suddenly hooded men arrived and surrounded the village. They began to shoot and the shooting caused the death of two people." In addition to the two deaths, two children are reportedly missing and the population are hiding in the bush. "It's really sad, because many people were already returning, but with the attack they abandoned again," he said. The militia source also complained that calls for reinforcement went unanswered.

IS training 2000 Mozambican fighters (The National)
UAE-based The National reports that the terrorist group Islamic State is expanding its global reach and offering training to more than 2000 northern Mozambicans. The website reports, “ISIS’s global expansion into northern Mozambique includes training for a terror offensive involving suicide bomb tactics among a new generation of recruits,” attributing the information to security analyst Jasmine Opperman. It adds: “With input from Middle East focused ‘ISIS central’ the Mozambique commanders' strategic thinking has changed from the idea of establishing a de facto state to hijacking local insurgencies, indoctrinating the population and radicalising them.”


  • Gapi and MozParks jointly designed the Centre for Entrepreneurial Development and Innovation (CDEI), which aims to promote the incubations and management of MSMEs. Professional training will be provided in partnership with companies located in Beluluane Park, in other areas of Mozambique and the SADC (see here)
  • Battery Minerals released its latest presentation in which it highlights the agreement with Tirupati Graphite to sell its interests in the Montepuez and Balama Central Graphite projects. The company notes that it will be the second-largest shareholder in Tirupati, other than outside funders (see here)
  • The Bank of Mozambique released the results of a public consultation process on the technical proposal for Mozambique's Sovereign Fund, carried out between October and December 2020 (see here)
  • Mozambique received 756,000 doses of the Janssen vaccine last week as part of a joint initiative between the Mastercard Foundation and Africa's CDC, in which 15m vaccines are being distributed across Africa (see here)

Infographic of the day