President Filipe Nyusi on Monday called on the specialist units of the Mozambican police force (PRM) to eliminate the extremist groups that are creating instability in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
President Nyusi issued this order in his role as commander-in-chief of the defence and security forces at a ceremony marking the conclusion of a training course for members of specialist police units, which took place at the police training school at Matalane, on the outskirts of Maputo.
The President stated that this objective should be achieved through the police working hard and using their policing skills to promote and consolidate an environment of peace and tranquillity among those affected by the developments in the north of the country.
Armed gangs have been operating in the districts of Palma, Nangade, Macomia and Mocimboa da Praia since October 2017. Since then over a hundred people have been murdered and villages destroyed by members of an Islamic fundamentalist group known locally as “Al Shabaab”. Thousands of residents in rural areas have fled to district capitals. On Thursday, the terrorists for the first time attacked two road convoys organised by the American oil and gas company Anadarko, who is developing a huge industrial site in Palma district to liquefy and export natural gas.
Among the special police units that undertook the course are the Rapid Intervention Unit (the Mozambican Riot Police); the Protection Unit for High Ranking Figures; the Frontier Police; the Coastal, Lake, and River Police; and the Natural Resources and Environmental Police Unit.
The President called on the police force to reorientate itself so that it can take part in the disbanding of these gangs and the identifying of their leaders, whether they be nationals or foreigners.
The special reserve units are tasked with managing incidents that go beyond the scope of classic policing. They are deployed tactically in situations of concerted violence and heightened danger, complexity, where the personal security of high-ranking individuals is at risk, and other strategic missions.
In his closing remarks, President Nyusi stressed the importance of the units to conduct themselves professionally and ethically, with discipline and a respect for human dignity.