Maputo — Mozambique has announced a security crackdown that will target Tanzanians accused of "terrorism" after a spate of attacks in the country’s north, blamed by authorities on jihadists.
In October armed men laid siege to three police stations in Mocímboa de Praia, close to the Tanzanian border, killing a civilian and two officers, according to investigators. As many as 14 attackers were also killed. Then, at the end of November, unidentified attackers killed two villagers, burned dozens of homes and destroyed a church in the same region.
On Tuesday, police spokesperson Inacio Dino announced the start of a "terrorist hunt" in the forests around Mutumbate in Cabo Delgado province. Roughly three dozen Tanzanian nationals sought by police will be targeted, Dino said.
"Since the expiry of the amnesty period for the terrorists to voluntarily surrender there have been some arrests ... work is under way to ascertain the level of participation of each one in the armed incursions."
Abdul Assane, a representative of the Islamic Council, said on Thursday that 18 Muslims who were detained in connection with the October attacks had been released by the authorities. More than 200 people have been arrested in connection with the October attacks according to police.
President Filipe Nyusi also fired the army chief and the head of the country’s spy agency. Three mosques in the area closed by authorities in response to the attacks remain shuttered, added Assane. "[They] need to be held accountable for the crimes they have committed. If they had been good people, they should have given themselves up."