Fostering Effective Social Cohesion: The Key to Countering Terrorism in Mozambique
A Call for Social Cohesion
The former Mozambican head of state, Joaquim Chissano, has called for “effective social cohesion” to prevent the youth from joining terrorist groups active in the northern part of the country. His remarks were made during a national conference on “Peace, Security, Reconciliation, and Development” held in Maputo. Asserting that social cohesion is a crucial element in combating ongoing conflict and insecurity, Chissano reasoned that it fosters resilience within communities against violence.
The Hidden Enemy
Chissano described the enemy Mozambique is currently facing as a “hidden enemy”. This refers to the form of terrorism where there are no clear demands, leadership, or objectives presented. However, continuous acts of violence against the public and institutions are carried out. The ongoing conflict in the Cabo Delgado province, which has been experiencing an armed insurgency for nearly six years, is a prime example of this. Some attacks have been claimed by the extremist group, known to leading nations as the Islamic State.
Impact on Natural Gas Production and Human Displacement
Since October 2017, Mozambique’s armed forces have been fighting against these terrorist attacks, severely hampering the progress of natural gas production projects in the region. Since July 2021, they have received support from Rwanda and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The conflict has resulted in significant human displacement and casualties. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the conflict has displaced about a million people. The ACLED conflict registration project reports around 4,000 deaths, while Filipe Nyusi, the current Mozambican president, has acknowledged “more than 2,000” fatalities.
Need for International Cooperation
Chissano’s call for social cohesion underlines the need for a community-centered approach to tackling terrorism. However, it also highlights the necessity for international cooperation. The support from Rwanda and the SADC is a vital step in this direction. It is important for leading nations to recognize the situation in Mozambique and provide the necessary aid and support to curb the rising terrorism and return the nation to a state of peace and stability.
The Road Ahead
The road to peace in Mozambique is fraught with challenges. However, Chissano’s call for social cohesion provides a beacon of hope. By fostering unity and resilience within communities, Mozambique can begin to counter the hidden enemy of terrorism. The involvement of international communities in providing support and aid is crucial in this endeavor. Despite the challenges, there is a possibility for peace and stability in Mozambique, a goal that requires collective effort and determination.
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