Mozambique, Tanzania launch joint operations against terrorism
London, Nov. 24, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Mozambique and Tanzania authorities have agreed to launch joint operations against the terrorists linked to the self-styled “Islamic State”, who have been destabilising parts of the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado.
Already, the General Commander of the Mozambican police force, Bernadino Rafael, has met with his Tanzanian counterpart, Simon Sirro in the southern Tanzanian town of Mtwara, where they signed a memorandum of understanding on the modalities for the joint operations
The agreement comes a month after a group of about 300 terrorists crossed into Tanzania and attacked the village of Kitaya, in Mtwara province, where they murdered an unspecified number of people.
Under the agreement, the two countries would share information on the islamic state terror group
One of the results of the agreement will be the deportation to Mozambique of hundreds of terrorists and their collaborators currently held in Tanzanian jails.
The Mozambique and Tanzania agreement also allowed the forces from the two countries work jointly to control the border, and will encourage people living on the banks of the Rovuma to denounce movements of terrorists from one country to the other.
A day prior to the agreement, Sirro told Tanzanian reporters that the police have been rounding up terrorist supporters.
“We have arrested people coming from Kigoma, Mwanza and elsewhere,” Sirro said. This means the police sweep covered a vast area, since Kigoma is in western Tanzania and Mwanza is in the north of the country.
“They said they were going to Mozambique”, in order to join the jihadists, Sirro added. “They should stop this insane behaviour. If they don’t stop, they will end up dead or face legal measures”.
Sirro did not say how many had been arrested, but announced that “many Tanzanians youths” had been taken into custody.
Sirro said police had discovered that some local people had also been involved in the October attack against Kitaya, helping the jihadists to identify houses that were set on fire. Some of those who aided the attack have also been detained, he said.
Rafael, cited in Monday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, said that 516 people would be extradited to Mozambique and tried for crimes committed in Cabo Delgado. This extradition, Rafael said, was a key objective of the agreement he and Sirro had signed.
He added that, because of the recent offensives against the jihadists by the Mozambican defence and security forces, many terrorists had crossed the Rovuma river into Tanzania, in search of refuge, and had been detained by the Tanzanian authorities.
Those detained include not only Mozambicans and Tanzanians, but also jihadists from Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. By interrogating these prisoners, said Rafael, the government hopes to understand the motivations of the terrorist organisation.
“We would like to thank the Tanzanian authorities for all their information and collaboration”, said Rafael. “This has contributed greatly to putting the brakes on the situation”