Mozambique’s government, which is facing a growing insurgency, will create a special unit in the attorney general’s office to investigate and prosecute cases of terrorism, the attorney general said on Wednesday.
The insurgency broke out in the country’s northeast in 2017 and the rebels have stepped up attacks in the past year.
Last month, they assaulted the coastal town of Palma, near natural gas projects worth $60 billion that are meant to transform Mozambique’s economy. Dozens of people were killed, the government says.
Presenting her annual report to parliament, Attorney General Beatriz Buchili said a new special unit would be dedicated to investigating and prosecuting complex crimes, including terrorism.
“One cannot face the crime of terrorism disassociated from other legal types of crime that are related to them, such as trafficking in weapons, drugs, and people, illegal exploitation of mineral, forest and wildlife resources, money laundering and financing of terrorism, which are other facets of crimes associated with violent extremism,” she said.
Buchili spoke as foreign ministers from Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, and Mozambique prepared to meet on Thursday to discuss a report from a regional team that was sent to Mozambique to assess the security situation and identify immediate ways to help it deal with insurgent attacks.
At least 12 South African citizens are believed to be part of the Isis-linked group that has attacked the town of Palma. This has raised concerns among South African security experts, with many of them calling for SADC to intervene and counter the possibility of any terror attacks on South Africa.
At least one South African, Adrian Nel, has been killed in the insurgent attack on Palma.
Adrian Nel killed during an attack in Mozambique, mother shares account: