MAPUTO– The Mozambican government has authorised the re-opening of the Muhammad mosque in Pemba, capital of the northern province of Cabo Delgado, about 2,400 kilometres north east of by road, after it had been ordered closed about a year ago because of its connections with a terrorist group who had launched armed attacks in parts of the province.

Islamic fundamentalists, known locally as Al Shabaab, although they do not seem to be connected to the Somali terrorist group of that name, launched attacks against police installations in the district of Mocimboa da Praia, on Oct 5, marking the start of a low-level insurrection which spread into the neighbouring districts of Palma, Macomia and Nangade.

The authorities destroyed two mosques built of flimsy materials and used by the jihadists in Mocimboa da Praia, and ordered the closure of several others elsewhere in the province. Most of these have now re-opened, under new management.

Media reports quoted the provincial governor, Julio Parruque, as announcing the re-opening of the Muhammad mosque, under a management team appointed by the Islamic community of Cabo Delgado.

Parruque said the temporary closure of the mosque had been a necessary measure. We are convinced that believers are aware that places of worship should not be used for malicious purposes, he added.