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'Swift action needed from AU and SADC to bring peace and security to Mozambique'

29 March 2021 10:22 AM
Tags:
SADC
Human Rights Watch
Rescue
AU
Mozambique attack
Palma
extremist groups

Human Rights Watch regional director Dewa Mavhinga says the Mozambique insurgency requires an urgent response from SADC and the AU.

Mavhinga says there has been no political will from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) to assist Mozambique in stemming the violent insurgency in the Cabo Delgado province.

Dozens of civilians and foreign nationals have died after militants began attacking Mozambique's northern town of Palma, which is a gas hub in the province of Cabo Delgado.

RELATED: SA Mission in Mozambique verifying how many expats affected after deadly attacks

Human Rights Watch says the ISIS-linked armed group, referred to locally as Al-Shabab, began attacking the coastal town on Wednesday causing civilians to flee the area.

Mavhinga says there has been a slow and reactive response by Mozambican authorities to the ongoing insurgency in the area.

He says extremist groups have become emboldened by the government's failure to protect civilians and mobilise support from SADC and the AU.

It's also a reflection of serious weaknesses in terms of preparation and intelligence-gathering and in terms of the response from the Mozambican authorities.

Dewa Mavhinga, Southern Africa Director - Human Rights Watch

The deadly attacks forced French oil firm Total to suspend its nearby gas project.

A rescue operation is underway to evacuate thousands of survivors to the provincial capital Pemba.

We also know that from the Minister of Defence spokesperson that the rescue operation is underway and some have been rescued by boat to Pemba.

Dewa Mavhinga, Southern Africa Director - Human Rights Watch

As a result, international operations around the gas explorations have had to be suspended by the group Total.

Dewa Mavhinga, Southern Africa Director - Human Rights Watch

Palma came under attack initially on Wednesday from an Isis-linked Islamist group that's locally called Al-Shabab

Dewa Mavhinga, Southern Africa Director - Human Rights Watch

These groups were shooting indiscriminately at people on the streets, at local banks, and at local hotels... Hundreds began to flee... Some were trapped in the hotels. We now know that dozens have been killed.

Dewa Mavhinga, Southern Africa Director - Human Rights Watch

Listen to the discussion on Breakfast with Refilwe Moloto:




29 March 2021 10:22 AM
Tags:
SADC
Human Rights Watch
Rescue
AU
Mozambique attack
Palma
extremist groups

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