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Thousands displaced by violence cloud general elections in northern Mozambique

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

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The situation in northern Mozambique is deteriorating for months with a increase in attacks on civilians about whose authorship there is confusing information. These attacks are causing the displacement of thousands of people due to insecurity, as well as fatalities (around 200 since October 2017) and problems for the development of international cooperation programmes Let's go. In this context, the African country celebrates its general election on October 15

Different sources attribute this violence to very different causes, although officially there's no version. Islamist extremists from the north are accused as well as foreign interference, ethnic clashes, groups of gemstone smugglers, and even young people unemployed accused of poverty.

Alliance for Solidarity, which maintains several development projects in the Cabo Delgado region, continues to work actively with communities, while seeing how the arrival of large energy projects, such as the exploitation of large natural gas fields have no prospect of alleviating poverty, but create new problems: in 2008, 39% of the population lived in poverty, a percentage that rose to 44.8% seven years later, according to the latest available data from the Mozambique Rural Environment Observatory.

It should be noted that the natural gas project was started by Anadarko, an American-born company whose majority owner in Mozambique has been the French oil company Total since last summer. It consists of the exploitation of some 2.12 billion cubic meters of natural gas, found under the ocean, to be channeled to the coast of Cabo Delgado and there will be liquefied in the liquefaction plant to finally be distributed to the rest of the world. This project will be the first platform on lquated natural gas land in Mozambique, and will have the capacity to produce 12.88 million tonnes per year. Andadarko is the oil company that was denounced for contaminating thousands of places in the United States, so had to pay $5.15 billion in 2014

The arrival of Anadarko, which the government of President Filipe Nyussi believes will generate great resources for the country, has caused instability in the area without generating employment: there are 13,000 expatriate workers compared to 300 locals, almost all for jobs lower-skilled qualifications. In addition many families have been displaced by their land being expropriated, without many feeling satisfied with the compensation received.

At Mueda, municipality where it has its projects Alliance for Solidarity, there are already Russian army troops in support of the Mozambican to, they say, help in controlling endless violence.

The fact that homes are set on fire and families of different religions are buried throws the Islamist hypothesis at issue. More real is the rise of poverty and discontent. In Mueda, much of the population has no drinking water in their homes, the roads are in poor condition and only a third of the city's inhabitants have electricity supply. The Government currently has a very high debt to the World Bank, which it has to pay, while civil servants have not received their wages for a long time, which increases popular discontent.

Alliance for Solidarity maintains development cooperation projects in the area despite difficulties

In this scenario, Alliance for Solidarity, thanks to an AECID convention, works in communities promoting property of the land of the women of Mueda, increasing farmland thanks to motor pumps that carry water where there was not and facilitating the marketing of agricultural products. For this purpose, a community warehouse has been built near a road that allows smallholder farmers in the area to obtain better prices. Also work is being made to delimit communal lands to prevent the entry of poachers that deforest the forest. De hecho, se ha creado un comité de gestión de fauna y floresta que reúne a los comités locales que trabaja con este fin.

Javier Larios, coordinador de Alianza en Mozambique señala que “es una situación compleja porque el Gobierno actual confía en la explotación del gas para solucionar los problemas, pero no va a mejorar las condiciones de la gente y, además, la violencia va en aumento”.

Por su parte, Gaspar Sitefane, responsable de Accion Aid Mozambique, añade que el gran proyecto del gas “ya está aumentando el nivel de gasto de la gente debido a que los precios suben, pero lo peor es que no se sabe quién está detrás de la violencia desatada hace dos años y que ya no se informa de ello, como si no existiese”.


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