A group of insurgents recently visited Pangane, in Macomia district, in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado, allegedly to “speak” to two prominent political figures in the area.
The insurgents told locals that they wished to talk to Maria Bachir, a ruling Frelimo party member of parliament, and Abubacar Artur, the head of the Pangana locality, to explore the possibility of handing themselves over to the authorities – apparently, food shortages must be a driver in the insurgents’ wishes to lay down arms and surrender to the authorities.
Ironically, it is not the first time insurgents come into Pangane looking for Bachir and Artur. However, when insurgents came calling in October 2020, they had one mission: kill them. Consequently, it seems quite a stretch that the two figures would trust the motives of the terrorists.
During the meeting with the local population, not only did the terrorists distribute cash and buy some foodstuff, but they encouraged locals to do good deeds as prescribed by Islam.
Meanwhile, although villagers have returned to their homes in Pangane, the administrative authorities have yet to return.
It would not be the first time insurgents surrender themselves to authorities owing to shortage of foodstuff within their ranks. Large numbers handed themselves over the same period in 2022.
The surrenders are welcome because of their potential to lessen extremist violence. However, locals, who bore the brunt of the terrorist acts, are less well-disposed, especially towards some of the leaders.
Meanwhile, both Bachir and Artur may not want anything to do with the insurgents not only because they might be fearful for their lives, but because of the military approach authorities have taken since the start of the insurgency.
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