MAPUTO, Mozambican police says they have detained 24 people who they believe were going to join an Islamic extremist group based in Mocimboa da Praia district in the northernmost province of Cabo Delgado.
The spokesperson for the Cabo Delgado provincial police command, Augusto Guta, says the 24 were taken off a bus at Ouasse, about 60 kilometres from Mocimboa town, on Jan 3. The bus had come from Nacala in the neighbouring province of Nampula.
Guta says the 24 claimed they were going to Mocimboa da Praia to work as fishermen but after investigation, the police concluded that this was a group of doubtful conduct, with links to the men who attacked the town in October.
All 24 have now been transferred to the provincial capital, Pemba, and the case has been referred to the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Guta says those who attacked Mocimboa da Praia on Oct 5 last year are insurgents, but never referred to the religious nature of their demands. There is, however, no doubt that the group are Islamic extremists and local people refer to them as al-Shabaab after the terrorist group active in Somalia, although they seem to have no organizational links with the Somali terrorist group of that name.
The group wants to impose sharia law, ban the sale of alcohol, and remove Christian crosses and secular monuments. They have tried to persuade Mocimboa da Praia residents to remove their children from State schools.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK