I don’t know what they were looking for - Governor of Cabo Delgado on terrorists that engulfed his province

By Esther Muhozi
On 18 December 2023 at 12:31

“Eight months ago, our present state seemed unimaginable. Today, we revel in the stability that embraces us, especially in terms of security, enabling people to move freely without constraints—a necessity for our province, country, and the world,” says Valige Tauabo, the Governor of Cabo Delgado Province in Mozambique as he takes journalists through ongoing efforts to decimate terrorists.

Reflecting on the events since the province’s attachment, the initial stage did not label the attached individuals as terrorists. However, the situation evolved significantly. In October 2017, the situation was manageable despite insurgent attacks, but two years later, instability struck. Reports of killings and kidnappings emerged, causing concern among the populace.

As Mozambican troops sought to address the situation, it became apparent that these individuals were not mere civilians but terrorists.

As Tauabo said, their motives remained unclear, adding to the complexity of the issue. Despite the challenges, the troops committed themselves to protecting the people.

In 2020, the governor, previously a district administrator, became the elected governor. Drawing from his experience in Palma, he extended efforts to secure all attached provinces, relocating people from vulnerable areas to the south. While the circumstances were far from ideal, the government’s presence provided solace to the affected population.

Currently, the province’s inhabitants are experiencing a sense of well-being. Those who temporarily relocated are returning, indicating confidence in the efforts of Rwandan, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), and other Mozambican troops.

Progress may be gradual, but collective determination assures a better future.

Tauabo acknowledges the devastating impact of terrorist attacks in 2021, resulting in 3,000 deaths and displacing over 800,000 individuals. Critical infrastructure was destroyed, hindering development activities and necessitating reconstruction.

Following the expulsion of terrorists from different regions, the collaboration between Rwandan and Mozambican forces has been instrumental. However, Tauabo emphasizes the prolonged journey to lasting peace and the need for individuals to feel secure in pursuing their projects.

TotalEnergies, a vital contributor to Cabo Delgado’s prosperity, invested significantly in a gas processing project. Unfortunately, this project, along with many others, was halted due to the prevailing conditions. The governor remains optimistic about its eventual resumption.

Despite the challenges, Tauabo expresses satisfaction with the synergy between Rwandan and Mozambican soldiers. He underscores the importance of their collaboration in daily activities, especially considering the extensive regions that must be traversed for essential connections between Pemba and Palma.

After Rwandan troops intervened, terrorists were dislodged and sought refuge in areas controlled by SADC forces, particularly in districts like Macomia. Currently, regions under the control of the Rwanda Security Forces include Palma, Mocimboa da Praia, Quionga, Afungi, Mbau, Pundanhar, and others.

The governor highlights that residents are pleased with the collaborative efforts between Rwandan and Mozambican troops, as it enables the resumption of daily activities.

Tauabo expressed satisfaction with the synergy between Rwandan and Mozambican soldiers.