By Jorge Joaquim
The restoration of peace and security on the border between Tanzania and Mozambique is now the top priority for diplomatic relations between the two countries, said the new Tanzanian High Commissioner, Phaustine Kasike.
Since October 2017 islamist terrorists have staged raids and destroyed villages across several districts in the northern province of Cabo Delgado. Several of the terrorists who have been detained, including leading figures, have turned out to be Tanzanian nationals.
Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi urged greater coordination of efforts between Tanzania and Mozambique in the fight against terrorism.
Speaking to reporters minutes after the audience Nyusi granted to the Tanzanian diplomat, Foreign Minister Veronica Macamo claimed that both countries face the same problem, and that they have agreed to pay greater attention to defence and security, both in Cabo Delgado and in southern Tanzania.
“I really believe that what was discussed in today’s audience will result in something important for the two countries”, said Macamo.
Asked about the detention in Tanzania of people who allegedly wished to join the ranks of the terrorists, Macamo said the government has taken note of this claim and will investigate further to see if there is any truth in it.
She described the bilateral relations between Mozambique and Tanzania as “excellent” and hoped that, during Kasike’s term of office, the two countries could focus on the management of natural resources, cross-border conservation areas, and the integrated management of the basin of the Rovuma river.
According to a Tanzanian press report, the southern brigade of the Tanzanian Defence Force has announced that it will launch an offensive against insurgents hiding in forests near the border with Mozambique.
A senior Tanzanian officer was quoted as saying “there are criminals in these forests and we have come here to work. We shall start with Ruvuma, and then we shall go to Mtwara and then to Lindi because there are people carrying out criminal activities and they are in these forests”. It is believed he was referring to the same islamists who operate in Cabo Delgado.