BY MOSES MATENGA/LORRAINE MUROMO
A ZIMBABWEAN man who went missing last month after a raid by Islamic insurgents in Palma, Mozambique, was confirmed dead yesterday with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government saying it is gravely concerned about the situation in the neighbouring country.
Nyasha Mugwagwa was confirmed dead by his family after he went missing on March 24 following a raid at Palma, a coastal town located far north of Cabo Delgado province, which has been a terror hotspot.
Islamic insurgents have killed over 3 000 people since 2017 while over 700 000 have been internally displaced from the oil and gas-rich region.
“Nyasha (38) was working in Palma at the time and is survived by his wife and a one-year-old daughter. We have lost a beloved husband, father, son and friend,” the family said in a statement.
“We are currently working on recovering Nyasha’s body and unfortunately this might be a lengthy process. Funeral arrangements will be made in due course,” it said.
Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa could not immediately confirm the number of Zimbabweans missing in the crisis-hit Mozambican province.
“We have always been concerned about our citizens and besides, Zimbabwe as part of Sadc is concerned about what is happening there, and that was why you saw the President of Botswana (Mokgweetsi Masisi) coming to Zimbabwe. Last week, there was also a Sadc meeting on the matter in Maputo. All that is meant to make sure there is sanity in the area because what is happening there is inhumane,” Mutsvangwa said.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade permanent secretary James Manzou said the Zimbabwean embassy in Mozambique was assisting to account for affected Zimbabweans.
“The government of Zimbabwe through our embassy in Mozambique continues to work closely with the government in Mozambique and companies in Palma to account for all Zimbabweans that were working in that town following recent disturbances.”
He said Mugwagwa was among the 12 people that were killed by the terrorists in Palma.
“The 12 have since been buried by local authorities as their bodies were in a state of advanced decomposition,” he said.
A Sadc troika meeting on the Mozambican situation last week promised “technical support” without clarifying on what that meant or whether there were plans to deploy soldiers to quell the deadly insurgency.
Mugwagwa was working as a catering manager for Remote Site Solutions, one of the contracted companies at the multi-billion-dollar gas projects being built by France’s Total and other energy companies.
A senior researcher with the Institute for Security Studies, Liesl Louw-Vaudran, told the media that Sadc countries alone had no capacity to deal with the crisis in Mozambique.
“I think for Zimbabwe and most of the other Sadc nations, if it is now a military operation, you would have to have a United Nations (UN) resolution and the African Union involved so that you can get financing from outside,” she was quoted saying.
“None of our militaries (can contain the Mozambican insurgency), even South Africa is too weak and underfunded to actually sustain that kind of operation. We hear Zimbabwe is quite ready to assist but it will definitely need financing for such a force from other sources.”
“The UN Security Council has a mandate for global peace and security so it will come down eventually to a UN resolution.”
- Follow us on Twitter @NewsDayZimbabwe