Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi has urged the new leadership of the Mozambican Armed Forces (FADM) to re-establish peace in the northern districts of Cabo Delgado province, as well as to swiftly restore order in Manica and Sofala provinces in the country’s central region.
Nyusi posed those challenges on Wednesday in Maputo when swearing into office the new FADM Chief of Staff, Eugenio Mussa, and his deputy Bertulino Capitine.
“We urge you to reestablish peace in the north of Cabo Delgado”, Nyusi said, “and, in coordinated action with the other defence and security forces and the heroic people, restore order in the central region”.
Nyusi outlined a wide variety of challenges the FADM’s new leadership has to overcome such as the need to ensure permanent combat preparedness, and to guarantee timely and continuous logistics.
He stressed the need for harmonious coordination, within the defence and security forces, of the operations intended to restore peace in the national territory, but also declared that the FADM must be organised and restructured at every level.
The new leadership is also tasked with the challenge of rejuvenating the FADM which should make the armed forces more flexible, hard-working and motivated to undertake combat missions.
“You should design suitable training programmes which attach priority to the special units depending on the threats at each moment”, Nyusi said. “You must ensure rational and proper use of equipment as well as guarantee its maintenance and conservation”.
He also ordered the military leadership that they must “Defend aggressively every infra-structure and economic project underway or those to be developed across the country, but paying special attention to the ones in the Afungi Peninsula”.
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Afungi, in the Cabo Delgado district of Palma, is where a consortium headed by the French oil and gas company Total is building natural gas liquefaction plants. The Total project, costed at 23 billion US dollars, is the largest ever foreign investment in Mozambique.
When journalists asked Defence Minister Jaime Neto to comment on reports that the leader of the self-styled Renamo Military Junta, Mariano Nhongo, has been captured, he said that, when Nhongo really has been arrested, the authorities will immediately inform the media.
He pointed out that Nyusi had offered Nhongo an escape route – if the Junta ended its military operations in Manica and Sofala, and laid down its weapons, its members, Nhongo included, could take part in the demobilization of the Renamo militia currently under way, and the reintegration of its members into Mozambican society.
But Nhongo had spurned this offer, Neto, said, and so the defence and security forces had no option by to hunt him down until he is captured.