More carnage coming in Moz, plus five highlights from ‘Vrye Weekblad’

Here’s what’s hot in the latest edition of the Afrikaans digital weekly

02 April 2021 - 08:16 By TimesLIVE
People wait for friends and relatives as a ship carrying more than 1,000 people fleeing an attack claimed by Islamic State-linked insurgents on the town of Palma, docks in Pemba, Mozambique, on April 1.
People wait for friends and relatives as a ship carrying more than 1,000 people fleeing an attack claimed by Islamic State-linked insurgents on the town of Palma, docks in Pemba, Mozambique, on April 1.
Image: REUTERS/EMIDIO JOZINE

The attack on the town of Pemba in northern Mozambique is a significant change in the strategy of Islamic insurgents. And experts warn that it is a catastrophe for the entire region.

Another round of bloody attacks is expected after insurgents looted more than 80 vehicles, including petrol tankers, during the attack on Pemba. A suspected 1,000 people were left dead. Many were decapitated. The insurgents probably also got their hands on cash in attacks on three international banks, seized 90 tonnes of food from the World Food Programme, and stole large quantities of supplies from shops and houses. They probably obtained more weapons, and especially international “standing” as a terrorist group.

The Islamic State (IS) has accepted responsibility for the attack, the 46th incident in the northern Cabo Delgado province which they have claimed.

“The attack is a catastrophe, the biggest catastrophe that has ever hit this region,” says Johann Smith, a risk analyst whose focus is the security situation in Mozambique.

“I don’t think the Mozambican government or anyone realises how serious the implications are. The insurgents are now even more mobile than before. There are big problems ahead.”


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The Mozambican authorities were caught off guard despite several warnings, and the country’s president, Filipe Nyusi, previously repeatedly declined offers of help, including from SA. It is something for which international contractors working on gas plants, including at least one South African, and ordinary citizens have now paid with their lives. And the insurgents have achieved a clear symbolic and tactical victory.

Besides, now is the start of the dry season, or rather the fighting season, when there is usually a sharp rise in attacks. The only buffer against the insurgents, the SA paramilitary group Dyck Advisory Group (DAG), has to leave the country because their contract with the Mozambican police was not renewed. It was precisely this group led by ex-Rhodesian colonel Lionel Dyck that launched a courageous helicopter operation to rescue people from the beleaguered Amarula Hotel in Palma, and pick up those who had sought refuge in the bush and on beaches.

Read this analysis of the violence in Mozambique plus more news and analysis in this week's issue of Vrye Weekblad.


Must-read articles in this week’s Vrye Weekblad

THE BOULDERS MALL EFFECT | Never let a good race crisis go to waste, is Heindrich Wyngaard’s hypothesis about the aftermath of the incident when Ndebele activist Thando Mahlangu was asked to leave a Midrand mall because of his traditional garb.

HERE COMES THE THIRD WAVE | Why has the government declined one of the best Covid vaccines, and how will they carry out the plan to vaccinate 200,000 people per day?

FREE TO READ — COVID IN YOUR HEAD | We look at the long shadow of depression that the pandemic has cast over us and talk to scientists about the long-term consequences for society.

THE WEEK IN POLITICS | It was a bad week for populists. Ace Magashule and his RET faction have badly misread the signs of the times, writes Max du Preez in his political column this week.

THE COP YOU WANT ON YOUR SIDE | Lt-Col Ruan Brummer has spent 35 years bringing rapists, murderers and child molesters to book. He tells us his story.


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