The situation in Mocímboa da Praia “remains tense and fluid” after “successive waves of attacks” from terrorists over the past week, but Mozambique’s security and defence forces (FDS) are “trying to control the situation,” defence minister Jaime Neto said on Thursday afternoon.
At a joint press conference with interior minister Amade Miquidade, Neto said that despite recent successes in destroying insurgent camps in Cabo Delgado, the enemy infiltrated various neighbourhoods of Mocímboa da Praia and then “attacked the town from the inside out, causing destruction, looting, and the murder of defenceless citizens,” as well as attacking and sabotaging “maritime means of rescue from the port of Mocimboa da Praia.”
Neto praised the “bravery, courage, spirit of sacrifice, combative morale, and resilience” of the FDS, but said that despite causing “enormous losses in men and material on the part of the alleged Islamic State, the enemy remained in the area, receiving support in supplementary equipment and men coming from bases outside Mozambique. The final result was the vandalization of infrastructures of the town of Mocímboa da Praia.”
Neto did not specifically address the question of the town’s port, which Zitamar reported was taken by insurgents on Monday, 10 August. However, he said that “at this moment, terrorists do not control a single place” in Cabo Delgado.
Neto avoided a question on whether Mozambique is being supported by mercenaries, saying only that “the Mozambican state continues strong to combat terrorists in Mozambique.” Regarding help from neighbouring states, he said “the support that we have requested is vigilance at the borders, to not let bandits enter into our territory.”
The Mozambican state and its people are “under the aggression of a group of terrorists”, he said, but the FDS are “determined to not let them call into doubt Mozambican sovereignty, nor to let Cabo Delgado be transformed into a stage of generalised disorder, chaos, and violation of the most fundamental human rights.”
“The Mozambican state will take all additional necessary measures so that this model of destruction does not grow or spread to other regions of the country,” Neto said.