He noted that since its beginning in 2017, analysts in Mozambique have been saying that the conflict is not religious, but that it is about control of the area’s mineral wealth.
The DHPI official said that all land in Mozambique belongs to the State, and explained, “Those living on it have a right to occupy. This right can be withdrawn at the State’s discretion, and given to somebody else.”
According to the official of the SACBC peace entity, the map issued by the Mozambique Department of Mineral Affairs shows that the entire Cabo Delgado Province, almost all of Nampula Province and the entire coastline from the Zambezi River to the Tanzanian, border has already been allocated to investors and prospectors.
Mr. Viljoen recounted what he described as a growing fear concerning security in other parts of Mozambique following plans to extract oil and gas in Nampula, a province in Northeastern Mozambique.
He narrates that a mining concession was awarded to Italian company ENI and ExxonMobil in 2014 and that the two companies “have been appearing in villages near Angoche, in Nampula Province, to survey the land.”
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The official of the peace entity that is monitoring conflict in a number of other African countries laments that there has been no consultation with local communities in the mining plans.
Locals who have expressed their grievances to the foundation have said, “If petro dollars equal conflict, then it is just a matter of time before conflict erupts here as well, to drive us off our land”.
The DHPI Director has called upon the EU to ensure that its companies operating in Mozambique consult extensively with affected communities.
This is to ensure that all decisions are reached by consensus and that vigorous CSI programs are in place to benefit affected communities.
Such consultations will also ensure that training programs and preferential employment policies for local communities are in place.
The consultations, Mr. Viljoen told the European parliamentarians, will address the root cause of the conflict.
“It is only when local communities have security of land tenure, and are benefitting materially from the extractive industry, that conflict will be averted,” he asserted.
Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.