US Senator Bob Menendez argues that the United States should provide immediate assistance to Mozambique against the terrorist insurgency, focused on respect for human rights, improving civil-military relations and the effectiveness of social services
Bob Menendez, Senator from the State of New Jersey, encourages the United States of America and the entire international community to help the Mozambican Government reach marginalized communities in the north with “better governance and critical social services”, according to a statement made in the Federal Senate and sent today to the Lusa agency.
The purpose of the declaration, made on Wednesday in the US Senate, is to reflect on the role that the United States can play in the solution, namely with a “coordinated strategy between agencies” and with assistance to Mozambican security forces.
Bob Menendez said that the international community should work on a “development aid package” for Mozambique, focused on “improving transparency, fighting corruption, providing health and education services and strengthening local employment and entrepreneurship opportunities”.
A member of the International Relations Committee, Menendez also maintained that “the international community must fully finance the modest request from the UN Humanitarian Assistance Coordination Office”, which requires US $ 254 million (207 million euros) to support more than one million Mozambicans throughout the next year.
According to the United Nations (UN), more than 1.3 million people in northern Mozambique need urgent humanitarian assistance.
The US senator stressed that, in the midst of a “severe humanitarian crisis”, more than 500,000 people in Cabo Delgado were displaced, of whom 41% are children.
“The situation in Mozambique is disastrous and, unfortunately, it has not attracted an appropriate level of attention from policy makers,” said Bob Menendez, adding that there is still hope for change.
The politician declared that the Mozambican government has to ensure that the state’s security forces are “effective” and can interact with communities in order to “gain the trust of the population”.
“The government must also be pressured to reduce its dependence on local militias, which have even less training and accountability than state troops,” added Bob Menendez.
Programs aimed at combating extremist ideologies and promoting the abandonment of the insurgency must also be strengthened, said Bob Menendez.
According to the Democratic party politician, the violence in Mozambique is rooted in “the indignation of a marginalized community against corrupt and distant rulers, fueled and brutally exploited by radical Islamic ideologues”.
Bob Menendez pointed out to the US Senate that the violence in Cabo Delgado has been growing rapidly due to extremists who have proclaimed an alliance with the Islamic State and who have “rapidly developed sophisticated military capabilities”.
The “atrocious acts of terror” also consist of “set fires, homicides, beheadings and kidnappings,” added the American.
The senator acknowledged that in recent decades, Mozambique has taken “steps to resolve the civil war” and that progress has been made, despite peace being “elusive”.
The discovery of natural gas reserves in the province of Cabo Delgado in 2010, “could have changed the course of the country’s development”, but saw “a new conflict that threatens any potential gains for citizens”, said the representative of New Jersey .
In the opinion of the American senator, “it is tragic to see a country that seemed to be at the height of the transformation being dragged back into conflict”.
Bob Menendez underlined the “obligation” that the Government of Mozambique has to invest in its own citizens and reintroduce a significant portion of natural gas revenues in the provinces where the natural reserves are located.
For the senator, the United States is “interested in helping to support innocent and suffering people and in promoting stability”.
According to the senator, the year 2020 reinforced that “security and stability worldwide can directly affect the security and stability of the United States”.
The coordinator for counterterrorism in the US administration, Nathan Sales, said this month, after a visit to Maputo, that the United States wants to be Mozambique’s preferred partner in defeating the rebels in Cabo Delgado, by training and equipping law enforcement agencies and order.
Armed violence in Cabo Delgado, northern Mozambique, is causing a humanitarian crisis with around 2,000 deaths and 500,000 displaced people, without housing or food, mainly concentrated in the provincial capital, Pemba.
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