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A dialogue of the deaf

Although mediation would be an ideal solution to the fighting in Cabo Delgado province, the head of Mozambique’s Islamic Council is not right for the job

Friday’s front pages in Maputo. Photo credit: Faizal Chauque / Zitamar News

Good afternoon. News of an initiative to talk to insurgents in Cabo Delgado province with a view to ending the fighting there does not inspire much confidence. For one thing, even after six years, it is not clear to anyone else exactly who the leaders of the Islamic State- backed insurgency are. For another, the indications are that the insurgency is being directed by foreign IS officials from outside Mozambique. It is hard to see how they could be reached, even assuming that they were prepared to engage in talks. The government is officially supportive, although in reality, it shows no interest in anything other than a military solution to the insurgency.

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Another problem is that the initiative is being led by Sheikh Aminuddin Muhammad, president of the Islamic Council of Mozambique, although the idea for it is understood to come from Roeland van de Geer, the former Dutch ambassador to Mozambique.

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