Another step on the road to normality in the northern Mozambican port Mocimboa da Praia this week saw a busload of internally displaced people (IDPs) return home under the watchful eyes of Mozambican and Rwandan soldiers.
The port city came under attack by ASWJ (Al Sunnah wa Jama’ah) Islamists as far back as October 2017 when the incursion first attracted attention from its southern African neighbours and the international community, mainly due to the massive gas exploration and exploitation work offshore. It subsequently fell to ASWJ and was reportedly retaken by soldiers from FADM (Forças Armadas de Defesa de Moçambique), the Rwanda Security Forces and elements of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM).
The first busload of IDPs totalling 123 people, housed at a camp in Quitunda near Afungi port came home to the port city escorted by soldiers. The returnees were taken to Nanduadwa village where they lived prior to the area falling to ASWJ fighters.
Plans are underway to all told return 3 556 people to the port city and environs from the Quitanda camp.
The relationship between Mozambique and Rwanda was further emphasised at the start of the week when the country’s inspector general of police called on Rwandan soldiers based at Pundanhar and Quionga. Bernardino Rafael was accompanied by Palma district administrator Joao Buchil and village representatives when he met soldiers, police and local residents.