Mozambicans Questioning Protection of State Officials in Attacks: Catholic Peace Entity

Victims of militant attacks in Cabo Delgado. Credit: Denis Hurley Peace Institute

Locals in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado Province have raised questions concerning the protection of economic interests of senior government officials even as civilians continue to be harassed by militants in the embattled Mozambican region. 

Sources who spoke to Denis Hurley Peace Institute (DHPI) of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) expressed their bafflement that mineral companies in Cabo Delgado, which are allegedly owned by powerful government officials continue to thrive amid killings, abductions and displacements of innocent civilians.

The sources make reference to Montepuez Ruby Mining (MRM), a company that operates rubies in Northern Mozambique, which has announced that it will increase its production from 200 tons per hour to 400 tons, in an operation budgeted at US$59.6 million.

“Local sources wonder why the ruby mines at Montepuez have never been attacked by insurgents and that the mining of rubies has never been interrupted, even though all the districts that surround Montepuez have been subject to repeated violent attacks,” the peace entity says in a Wednesday, March 16 report shared with ACI Africa.

DHPI notes that villages surrounding MRM, including Mueda, Muidumbe, Meluco and Ancuabe, continue to experience attacks.


Those who have spoken to the SACBC peace entity on condition of anonymity point to the fact that the mining of rubies is controlled by General Raimundo Domingos Pachinuapa, one of the oldest members of Frelimo’s Political Commission.

“A pure coincidence?” DHPI poses, adding that locals in Cabo Delgado have expressed the opinion that the face behind the mining is evidence of how senior government and military officials are manipulating the conflict to their own advantage.  

Elsewhere, similar suspicions persist, the charity foundation that is monitoring the five-year-old Mozambican conflict says, and explains, “A source in Palma pointed out that all hotels in the town have been destroyed, except for the one belonging to General Eduardo Nihia.”

“The same source says that General Nihia owns herds of cattle in the Muidumbe District, the scene of some of the worst attacks. Yet his herd of cattle remains there, untouched,” the foundation says, and notes that it has been unable to confirm that general Nihia owns a hotel in Palma.  

Meanwhile, DHPI has reported more attacks in Niassa, a province in Northwestern Mozambique, with a reported spillover of violence from neighboring Cabo Delgado.

More in Africa

Authorities in the Mozambican Province have reportedly been instructed to urgently investigate the recurrent attacks on vehicles using firearms, in the districts of Marrupa, Maúa, Mavago and Muembe.

The request, DHPI reports, follows the attack, on March 13, by unknown persons, armed with firearms and blunt instruments, on a truck carrying passengers and goods that was leaving Mecula in Niassa, for Nampula.

“The attack took place at the administrative post of Marangira, Marrupa district, and the criminals took all the merchandise and unspecified monetary values,” DHPI has reported.

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.