Mozambique

  1. Mozambicans sell food donations to build houses

    Jose Tembe

    BBC News, Maputo

    Internally Displaced Person camp in Cabo Delgado Province
    Image caption: In July Rwanda sent 1,000 soldiers to Mozambique to fight the Islamist militants

    Some survivors of jihadist attacks in Mozambique are selling some of the donations they get including food to raise money to build houses.

    The displaced people in Marokani settlement in the northern Cabo Delgado province have complained of not receiving enough support to construct houses.

    Most of the people there are living in makeshift tents covered in tarpaulins that are distributed by the government and humanitarian organisations.

    Only 55 of the about 950 families in Marokani are living in improved houses that they have built on their own, only getting roofing material from the government, according to media reports.

    “Since I arrived in Marokani, I have never received support in construction material, nor zinc, rafters and sticks, I have not received anything but a tarpaulin, where I live with my three granddaughters. Who will help an old woman like me?” complained Latifa Sumail, an 80-year-old widow.

    Adamo Anlaui, a 65-year-old displaced who fled Ulo village in Mocímboa da Praia district with his wife, children and grandchildren said:

    “I am old and cannot cut and transport sticks and bamboo, much less build; I had to divert part of the donation I receive to build my house.”

    The lack of proper cover for some of the completed houses is worrying the displaced people, who are anticipating problems in the coming rainy season.

    Even some of the few families who have benefited from building material donations are facing difficulties as they have no money to pay for labour.

  2. Mozambique reports big drop in Covid cases

    Jose Tembe

    BBC News, Maputo

    A man wearing a face mask and face shield walk in Maputo on February 6, 2021.
    Image caption: The health ministry has advised people to continue observing strict measures against the spread of the virus

    Coronavirus cases in Mozambique have fallen sharplyin the first two weeks of September, according to data from the health ministry.

    In the first 13 days of the month, there were 2,943 new cases of Covid-19 and 107 hospital admissions – a big drop from the 15,385 cases and 542 admissions reported in the same period in August.

    Over that same period, the number of coronavirus deaths fell by 88.3% – from 256 in August to 30 in September.

    These improvements, the health ministry said, were largely due to the effectiveness of measures taken by the government to restrict the spread of the disease.

  3. Rwandan businessman gunned down in Mozambique

    Jose Tembe

    BBC News, Maputo

    Revocant Karemangingo
    Image caption: Revocant Karemangingo was shot dead metres from his home

    A Rwandan businessman has been shot dead in Matola municipality, a few kilometres outside the Mozambican capital, Maputo.

    Revocant Karemangingo was shot about 50m (164ft) from his residence in the Liberdade neighbourhood on Monday afternoon.

    He was reportedly confronted by gunmen on three vehicles who intercepted his car before they fired a hail of bullets at him.

    The killers are so far not known, much less the reasons for the crime that shocked the neighbourhood and the Rwandan community in Mozambique.

    The police were at the scene for forensic work and the body was taken to a provincial hospital.

    Some Rwandans have told reporters that the deceased was among people who were being targeted because of their opposition to the current government in their home country.

    The Association of Rwandan Refugees in Mozambique said Karemangingo was a refugee doing pharmaceutical business and a victim of persecution by President Paul Kagame's government.

    The Rwandan community has asked the Mozambican government to provide more protection.

    In 2019, another Rwandan, Louis Baziga, was shot dead in a similar style in a Maputo suburb after gunmen intercepted his car. He was a known supporter of the Rwandan government.

    The Rwandan government has been accused in the past of carrying out targeted killings to dissidents out of the country - claims which it has vehemently denied.

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    Video caption: What's gone wrong with the 'War on Terror' in Africa?

    Twenty years after the US 'War on Terror' began, Islamist movements have spread across Africa.

  5. Mozambique issues flood alert for a million people

    Jose Tembe

    BBC News, Maputo

    The Mozambican weather authorities have warned that more than one million people may be affected by floods in the upcoming rainy season.

    The country is set to begin its rainy season in a month.

    The southern and central regions will receive more rainfall than normal, according to the weather authorities.

    The northern provinces like Cabo Delgado and Niassa will experience below normal rainfall, Bernardino Nhantumbo, an official of the National Institute of Meteorology said.

    He said there was "a moderate risk of flooding in hydrographic basins such as Maputo, Umbelúzi, Incomáti, Limpopo and in the central area we have Búzi and Zambeze".

  6. Concerns over state absence in Mozambique region

    Jose Tembe

    BBC News, Maputo

    Internally displaced people (IDP) from Palma gather in the Pemba Sports center to receive humanitarian aid in Pemba on April 2, 2021.
    Image caption: Mozambicans returning to Palma are finding only a shell of what used to be their village

    Almost all state institutions in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province remain shut, about a month after jihadist attacks in the area were brought under control.

    The situation is considered serious in Palma district, the only area in which civilians have been allowed to return, of the several that have been recaptured from jihadists by joint Mozambican and Rwandan forces.

    The few people who have had the courage to return to their homes have found a scene of destruction and a heavy military presence.

    “I had fled to Quitunda and when I returned to the village of Palma, about a week ago, I found only military personnel and all government buildings destroyed and closed,” said Sufo Assane, one of the first returnees.

    Besides the absence of the state institutions, many families who have returned to the recaptured areas are food are facing hunger and are surviving through the help of others who found some produce in their farms.

    “Since we arrived here, we still haven't received help from the government and we eat cassava and sweet potato leaves that we are being offered by people who have managed to recover some produce from their fields,” Bacar Macotcha explained.

    Some small traders have resumed their businesses including selling basic foodstuffs, but there are few customers as most families have little money to spend.

    Another concern is accommodation, with some still sleeping outside while waiting for an opportunity to rebuild their destroyed homes.

    The people have also been complaining about the lack of healthcare in Palma.

    “The hospital is closed and we don't have any nurses. When someone is sick, they go to Quitunda, about 15km (nine miles) from here,” said Aissa Momade.

  7. Fake $16,000 seized in Mozambique - police

    Jose Tembe

    BBC News, Maputo

    US dollar
    Image caption: The US dollar is in demand in Mozambique because the local currency is weak

    About $16,000 (£11,500) of counterfeit notes have been seized in Mozambique, with investigators suspecting that a regional syndicate is specialising in printing fake currency.

    Police said they had arrested two Angolans, and arrest warrants for other suspects would be issued.

    Mozambican, Angolan and South African nationals were suspected to be part of a currency-forging syndicate - though their attempts to forge Mozambique's metical had failed, police said.

    The detained Angolans have denied any wrongdoing. One of them said he was a businessman who had entered Mozambique legally two months ago to look for business opportunities, and had no idea why he had been arrested.

  8. Banking services restored in northern Mozambique

    Jose Tembe

    BBC News, Maputo

    Banking services have been restored in the northern Mozambican town of Mueda in the restive Cabo Delgado province.

    The services had been discontinued due to insecurity in the region and a lack of electricity supply.

    Civil servants living in the area used to travel to Montepuez, 220km (135miles) away, to access their salaries, according to local media.

    Two banks, Banco Comercial e de Investimentos and Millennim bim, have reopened their branches in the town. Absa bank is however yet to reopen.

    Restriction to banking services were issued after an attack in the region's main town of Palma on 24 March.

    Electricity supply has also resumed a year after the sabotage of the Ouasse substation, in the district of Mocímboa da Praia.

    Like other towns in Cabo Delgado province, Mueda had been in darkness since August last year after substations were vandalised.

    Mueda Mayor Manuel Pitalavalave has asked entrepreneurs who had left the area to return.

  9. Rwanda not using French money for Mozambique operation - Kagame

    Jose Tembe

    BBC News, Maputo

    Rwandan soldiers
    Image caption: Rwandan soldiers have fought alongside Mozambican troops against insurgents in the north of Mozambique

    Rwanda's President Paul Kagame says the country is fully funding its military operation in Mozambique and has denied being financed by France or its oil company TotalEnergies.

    last month, Rwanda soldiers backed Mozambican troops in their fight against Islamist militants in the north of the country.

    “We have decent resources and we are happy to share. There is no-one financing us,” President Kagame said in an interview with the Rwandan Broadcasting Agency.

    He was answering a question on concerns over the possible financing by Total Energies - given its considerable investment in the affected areas, Cabo Delgado province, for natural gas extraction.

    President Kagame also answered a question over Rwanda's rapid response - deploying troops ahead of the joint southern Africa regional bloc Sadc's mission:

    “There's a neighbour with a burning house and the one who arrives first is asked: why were you so quick to put the fire out?”

    He said that the mission was not linked to resources and was "just to make the area safe" and support Mozambique.

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  10. Insurgent-hit phone networks restored in Mozambique

    Jose Tembe

    BBC News, Maputo

    Communication has been re-established in Mozambique's districts where networks were vandalised by insurgents, one of the mobile operators, Vodacom, has said.

    The re-connection became possible after troops managed to recover some of the areas that were being controlled by Islamic State group-linked militants.

    Vodacom services are now available in towns and villages in Mocímboa da Praia, Palma, Afungi, Quionga, Quitupo and Awasse.

    Another mobile operator, Movitel, has assured customers that it will restore communications in the districts of Mocímboa da Praia and Palma by the end of the month.

  11. Three people beheaded in northern Mozambique

    Jose Tembe

    BBC News, Maputo

    A mound of ashes is seen in the recently attacked village of Aldeia da Paz outside Macomia, on August 24, 2019.
    Image caption: The latest killings are suspected to have been committed by fleeing jihadists

    Three people have been beheaded in a village in Quissanga district in the jihadist-hit northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado.

    The macabre act is believed to be the work of insurgents linked to the Islamic State group fleeing the ongoing joint operations by Mozambican and Rwandan troops.

    The incident occurred on Tuesday but the reasons behind the killings are still unknown, according to media reports.

    The three dismembered bodies are said to have been found by villagers in the morning. They also reported seeing a vehicle without a number plate moving around.

    Last week three fishermen were reportedly beheaded in Macomia district, which was also suspected to have been carried out by fleeing jihadists.

    The incident was reported by other fishermen who survived the attack.

    The beheadings come at a time when a sense of calm and security seems to be returning to many districts in Cabo Delgado as a result of the military operations.

    The jihadists have been blamed for several mass beheadings since they began their insurgency in 2017.

  12. Concern over jobless Mozambican doctors amid Covid

    Jose Tembe

    BBC News, Maputo

    Doctor with syringe in hands - flag of Mozambique in background
    Image caption: The pandemic has put Mozambique's health sector under strain

    A Mozambican doctors' organisation has raised concern that some doctors remain unemployed despite the struggles the health sector is facing during the the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The head of the Order of Doctors of Mozambique said it had about 200 members without a job.

    Gilberto Manhiça said it did "not make sense" that doctors had no job.

    "In a pandemic situation like this, it’s difficult to have to digest a situation where we have locally trained doctors who don’t yet have a job."

    He was speaking during a radio programme on the role of professional organisations in the fight against Covid-19 in Mozambique.

  13. Son of Mozambique ex-leader denies role in 'tuna scandal'

    Jose Tembe

    BBC News, Maputo

    One of the loans was for Mozambique's tuna industry
    Image caption: One of the loans was for Mozambique's tuna industry

    The son of Mozambique's former president Armando Guebuza on Monday denied allegations he took bribes to facilitate a $2bn (£1.4bn) secret government loan that plunged the southern African country into financial crisis.

    Ndambi Guebuza is among 19 high-profile defendants facing trial in a high security prison in the capital, Maputo, over alleged links to a 2013 corruption case known as the "hidden debt" scandal.

    He is accused of receiving $33m from an international shipbuilding group, Privinvest, to convince his father, who was president at the time, to approve corrupt maritime projects.

    In 2013 and 2014, three public companies secured $2bn in state-guaranteed loans from international banks to buy a tuna-fishing fleet and surveillance ships, which they contracted to Privinvest.

    An independent audit later found that $500m of the loans, which were kept hidden from parliament, remain unaccounted for.

    Privinvest has previously denied wrongdoing.

    Wearing a black coat over his orange prison uniform, Mr Ndambi was the third suspect to testify on Monday, one week after the trial started.

    "I have never received money from Privinvest," he told judges, saying he had no knowledge of emails presented in court as evidence of his involvement.

    He also denied meeting Antonio Carlos do Rosario, a former director of Mozambique's intelligence unit and head of the three state-owned groups, during a 2012 trip to Privinvest shipyards in Germany and Abu Dhabi.

    "I went to visit a petrochemical company... [to] hear business opportunities," he said.

    He said that communication details extracted from his laptop and documents with his signature, "may have been forged".

    His 78-year-old father attended the hearing in a grey suit and blue shirt, occasionally taking notes.

    The loan scandal surfaced in 2016, prompting donors such as the International Monetary Fund to cut off financial support, triggering sovereign debt default and currency collapse.

    Mr Ndambi was arrested in February 2019.

    More about the case: Mozambique 'tuna bond' scandal: Ex-President Guebuza's son on trial

  14. Mozambique warns over Covid vaccination card fraud

    Jose Tembe

    BBC News, Maputo

    Mozambican President, Filipe Nyusi, has denounced the sale of cards proving a Covid-19 vaccination.

    He said the move was "jeopardising the health and lives of all people".

    President Nyusi urged the public to be vigilant.

    “We want to draw attention, once again, to regret the situation of buying and selling vaccination cards. This type of conduct has no other name than this: It is a crime. More than a forgery," he said in a national address.

    Mozambique has vaccinated more than 650,000 people with more than 1.9 million doses administered.

    The health ministry has been running public campaigns encouraging people to turn up for mass vaccination as coronavirus cases in the country increase.

  15. Displaced residents return to Mozambique conflict-torn region

    Jose Tembe

    BBC News, Maputo

    In northern Mozambique hundreds of internally displaced people who had fled jihadist attacks that began in 2017 have begun to return to their homes following military operations involving troops from Rwanda.

    In recent weeks towns and villages in Cabo Delgado province that had been overrun by the Islamist militants have been recaptured.

    In Rwanda local media has shown photos of the military helping displaced people set off in buses and lorries from displacement camps back to their homes.

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    The Mozambican authorities have however warned that some areas are still not ready to be repopulated as the jihadists destroyed basic infrastructure.

    Close to three quarters of a million people have been forced to flee their homes because of the violence.

  16. Mozambique ex-minister extradition hearing postponed

    Manuel Chang
    Image caption: Manuel Chang was arrested in South Africa at the request of the United States

    South Africa’s High Court has postponed for three weeks a hearing challenging the extradition back home of a former Mozambican finance minister.

    Manuel Chang is accused of corruption after allegedly receiving bribes to sign off on international loans of $2bn (£1.5bn) intended to buy fishing trawlers and military patrol boats. However, much of it was allegedly diverted to government officials.

    The 66-year-old denies any wrongdoing.

    Since his detention in December 2018 - at the request of the United States - the South African government has been considering rival extradition requests.

    Mr Chang is wanted in both the US and Mozambique for his alleged part in the scandal.

    Earlier this week, South Africa’s justice department said it had decided he should go to Mozambique, where a trial has just started for others caught up in the scandal.

    But this decision has been challenged by the Mozambique Budget Monitoring Forum (FMO), a group of civil society organisations.

    It argues he will not face proper justice at home.

    The case will be reviewed on Friday 17 September.

  17. SA pauses extradition of Mozambique ex-minister

    Manuel Chang
    Image caption: Mozambique’s former Finance Minister Manuel Chang has been in custody since 2018

    South Africa's decision to extradite former Mozambique finance minister Manuel Chang to his home country has been blocked pending a court hearing after a civil society organisation objected, Reuters news agency reports, quoting court documents.

    Mr Chang is accused of corruption after allegedly receiving bribes to sign off on international loans of $2bn (£1.5bn) intended to buy fishing trawlers and military patrol boats. However, much of it was allegedly diverted to government officials. Mr Chang denies any wrongdoing.

    South Africa's Justice Minister Ronald Lamola has given an undertaking that Mr Chang will not be extradited" until a decision is handed down by a court on Friday, Reuters reports.

    The hearing will focus on an application by the Mozambique Budget Monitoring Forum (FMO), a group of civil society organisations, to stop the extradition until arguments against it can be heard.

    It wants the ex-minister to be extradited to the US, where he is also wanted on similar charges, Reuters reports.

    Chang was arrested in December 2018 and held in South Africa while the government considered the rival extradition requests.

    Civil society groups in South Africa and Mozambique have questioned whether Mozambique has the political will or capacity to mount a proper prosecution.

  18. 'Last major push' against insurgents in Mozambique

    Jose Tembe

    BBC News, Maputo

    A convoy of armoured vehicles is seen patrolling in Mocimboa da Praia, northern Mozambique, on August 12, 2021
    Image caption: Rwanda deployed around 1,000 troops in July to fight the insurgents

    Rwandan and Mozambican troops have reportedly encircled militants in Mozambique's northern Cabo Delgado province ahead of a "last major military push" against the Islamic State-linked insurgents.

    The forces are surrounding the militants in the areas of Siri I and Siri II.

    The military push comes barely four days after the joint forces seized Mbau - another key insurgent stronghold - after a fierce battle.

    Military sources reported that more than 100 people were released from jihadist captivity, and dozens of militants were killed.

    On 8 August, the joint forces drove out insurgents from Mocimboa da Praia, a port city that had been the headquarters of the militants for more than three years.

    After fleeing the city, the insurgents moved further southwards into the thick forests of Mbau. Siri I and Siri II are the insurgents only remaining major hideouts in Mocimboa da Praia.

    In July, Rwanda deployed 1,000 troops to Cabo Delgado at the request of Mozambique to help fight the jihadists, stabilise the area and restore the authority of the state.

  19. Bid to stop SA extradition of Mozambique ex-minister

    Karen Schoonbee

    BBC News, South Africa

    Mozambique’s former Finance Minister Manuel Chang in court in South africa
    Image caption: Mozambique’s former Finance Minister Manuel Chang has been in custody since 2018

    Mozambique’s former Finance Minister Manuel Chang has been handed over to Interpol to be extradited home instead of to the US, South Africa’s justice department has confirmed.

    The decision has led to diplomatic tension and a last-minute attempt to stop him being sent to Mozambique.

    The US embassy in Pretoria issued a statement on Sunday saying it noted “with great disappointment” that South Africa had decided to extradite Mr Chang to Mozambique despite having received its extradition request before that of Mozambique.

    Mr Chang is accused of fraud and corruption after allegedly receiving bribes to sign off on international loans of $2bn (£1.5bn) intended to buy fishing trawlers and military patrol boats but much of it allegedly diverted to government officials.

    He denies any wrongdoing.

    The US embassy statement said the alleged crimes had “victimised US citizens and robbed the government of Mozambique of over $700m”.

    Mr Chang was arrested in December 2018 and held in South Africa while the government considered rival extradition requests.

    Civil society groups in South Africa and Mozambique have questioned whether Mozambique has the political will or capacity to mount a proper prosecution.

    On Monday, 19 accused went on trial in Mozambique’s capital, Maputo, including Ndambi Guebuza, the son of former Mozambican President Armando Guebuza.

    Lawyers for the Mozambican Forum de Monitoria do Orçamento (FMO), a non-government organisation (NGO) that monitors government finances, said they were preparing to file an urgent application in the South African High Court on Wednesday in a last-minute attempt to block the extradition.

    Draft papers said Mr Chang should be extradited to the US as “Mozambican citizens would not be served by Mr Chang’s extradition to Mozambique”.

    The BBC was unable immediately to establish whether Mr Chang was still on South African soil.