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Third wave of covid-19 'over' in Mozambique; Police arrest 58 in Tete suspected of insurgency links

Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for 15 September, 2021


  • Today: CIP holds its weekly discussion on the ‘hidden debt’ corruption trial. CIP director Edson Cortes and researcher Borges Nhamirre will be joined today by Nova Democracia’s Quitéria Guirengane, the editor of Canal de Moçambique Matias Guente, and lawyer and commentator Tomás Vieira Mário. Video recording here:

The latest from Zitamar News:

Cabo Ligado Weekly: 6-12 September 2021

With a focus this week on:

  • Landmine and/or IED use in the conflict
  • Food aid distribution
  • Government response at home and abroad

Also available in Portuguese

From the Zitamar Live Blog:

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Mozambique announced 221 new cases of covid-19 yesterday, after completing 2,056 tests — a positivity rate of 10.8%. The number of active cases in the country now stands at 5,200

The best of the rest:

  • Third wave of covid-19 over in Mozambique, say officials (O País)
  • Police arrest 58 people in Tete suspected of insurgency links (Lusa, VOA)
  • Nyusi’s salary doubles, while civil servants get below inflation rise (Evidências, Canal de Moçambique)
  • Military searching Cabo Delgado islands for terrorists (Mediafax)
  • Rwandan refugees in Mozambique “terrified” after businessman killed (Lusa)

Third wave of covid-19 over in Mozambique, say officials (O País)
The third wave of covid-19 in Mozambique has ended, the Mozambican National Institute of Health announced on Monday. The third wave has been the deadliest, with an average of 1,500 daily cases and a total of over 30 deaths per day. The latest wave of the pandemic, which was officially confirmed in June, plunged the Mozambican national health system into crisis, forcing the authorities to adopt more prevention measures, O País reports. This included accelerating the vaccination campaign to cover people aged 50 and over in urban areas and public transport drivers, among others. The measures seemed to have worked, with the number of cases and deaths going down in the last two weeks. The health ministry is now planning the third phase of covid-19 vaccination which will cover people aged 50 and over in rural areas, and between 40 and 49 in urban areas.
Some of the expected vaccinations were not delivered to Mozambique in August, reducing the capacity of health authorities to reach more people. The government is aiming to vaccinate 17 million people by the end of 2022.

Police arrest 58 people in Tete suspected of insurgency links (Lusa, VOA)
Fifty-eight people were detained last week by the police in Tsangano district, in Tete province, on suspicion of being connected with the insurgency in Cabo Delgado. The two groups of people had supposedly gathered in the forests to perform a religious ceremony. Police are trying to identify the religion and why they were in the area, as they were carrying food and clothes with them, a spokesman for the Tete provincial police told Lusa. The first group of 14 people, all adult males, was intercepted on 7 September in a vehicle traveling through the dense forest of the district, Lusa reported. The second group of 44, which included 19 women and 17 children, has been in police custody since Sunday. Initially the suspects were assumed to be members of the Catholic church, but the diocese of Tete has denied any connection with them.
Tete appears to have become the most-used corridor for illegal immigration into Mozambique since the start of the conflict in Cabo Delgado. Similar suspicious groups have been detected in Niassa, but no concrete evidence was provided to the public about those groups. The current situation in Cabo Delgado is making the police more vigilant in other provinces, where it is thought that fugitives from the insurgency might show up.

Nyusi’s salary doubles, while civil servants get below inflation rise (Evidências, Canal de Moçambique)
President Nyusi’s salary is to double, to MZN800,000 ($12,500) per month, thanks to a new pay scale approved by the Council of Ministers, which will also see the salaries of the Prime Minister, Attorney General, and Speaker of Parliament increase by 75%, to MZN450,000 ($7,000) per month. Ministers are receiving a 60% pay-rise. Meanwhile, minimum salaries have risen only by between 1.5% and 10%, with a 5% rise for public sector workers, the worst-paid of whom receive just MZN4,691.14 ($73) per month — meaning Nyusi’s pay is 171 times larger. Opposition party Nova Democracia denounced the pay rises for top officials as “scandalous”.
Top government salaries continue to be lower than for executives in the private sector, but the difficult period the country is experiencing with the pandemic, and receiving emergency aid from abroad to face the economic hardship, make these pay rises very controversial.

Military searching Cabo Delgado islands for terrorists (Mediafax)
The various military forces fighting terrorist insurgents in Cabo Delgado province are carrying out an intense patrolling operation around the islands of Quirimbas archipelago off the province of Macomia, according to fishermen returned from the islands. The fishermen had been fishing for a few days when they encountered almost non-stop helicopter flights, and decided to leave to avoid being mixed up with the insurgents. According to the fishermen, the operation involves Mozambican armed forces with support from Rwanda and the regional force of the Southern African Development Community. Last weekend, Mozambican and Rwandan soldiers were seen leaving the Cabo Delgado town of Macomia and heading to the administrative post of Mucojo. Their goal, reportedly, was to check if terrorists were there and to alert the population to leave the area, given the ongoing military campaign.

Rwandan refugees in Mozambique “terrified” after businessman killed (Lusa)
All Rwandan refugees living in Mozambique are “terrified” after the recent killing of Rwandan businessman Revocat Karemangingo, the president of the Association of Rwandan Refugees in Mozambique has said. Karemangingo was shot dead while returning by car to his home from his warehouse, according to the police. Cleophas Habiyareme, the association’s president, said that Karemangingo had been targeted by the Rwandan government since an assassination attempt on him in 2016. There was an idea that he financed groups opposed to the Rwandan government, Habiyareme added. This is the third incident this year involving Rwandan refugees in Mozambique, after the abduction of journalist Cassien Ntamuhanga in May, and an attempt to kill the association’s secretary and his brother less than a month ago. “The Mozambican state will not accept that this situation continues”, Habiyareme said, expressing confidence that Mozambique would protect Rwandan refugees. However, he added that he was “completely down” and that Rwandans would continue to flee if they could not be protected there.

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