Maputo: The 9 Catholic radio journalists of the province of Cabo Delgado, in the diocese of Pemba in Mozambique, who were forced to take shelter in the bush after rebels of the Islamic State had raided the headquarters of the station. “The National Forum of Community Radio (FORCOM) reports that the nine journalists of the editorial office of the Saint Francis of Assisi Community Radio, located in the district of Muidumbe, province of Cabo Delgado, are in a safe area, after having survived for 15 days in the forest”, reports a post on the FORCOM Facebook page.
The Community Radio Forum “was able to provide logistical support to all journalists in order to reach the relatively safe areas of Namialo, Montepuez and Pemba”.
The last two journalists of the group arrived in safety on November 16 and “are already meeting their relatives in the district of Montepuez”, FORCOM states.
However, the situation of journalists remains precarious due to the lack of sufficient food “to guarantee the livelihood of journalists and their families”, and the fear that “the rebels will attack the entire province of Cabo Delgado”. On October 31, the entire editorial team of the Saint Francis of Assisi Community Radio evacuated the radio facilities after the rebels attacked the parish church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in the Muidumbe district where the station is located, forcing the nine journalists, together with their families, to escape and take refuge in the forest. In an attempt to block the jihadist violence which is currently spreading in southern Tanzania, the police chiefs of Tanzania and Mozambique have decided to launch joint operations against fighters linked to the so-called “Islamic State”.
Tanzanian Police Inspector General Simon Sirro and his Mozambican counterpart Bernardino Rafael met on November 20 in the southern Tanzanian border town of Mtwara.The meeting came a month after some 300 suspected Islamist militants from Mozambique attacked the Kitaya village of Mtwara, killing an unknown number of people. In the Province of Cabo Delgado, jhadists have killed more than 2,300 people since the beginning of the insurgency,forcing 500,000 inhabitants to evacuate.
According to earlier reports,on October 31, the insurgents occupied the parish church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, where the Radio is located, forcing the 9 journalists, together with their families, to flee and take refuge for more than ten days in the woods, in the direction of the nearest districts , Mueda and Montepuez, presumably safer within the province of Cabo Delgado”, states FORCOM which also denounces: “armed violence has reached levels never seen before, with the assault and occupation of the main villages”.
According to Father Edgard Silva Júnior, coordinator of the Radio, it is suspected that the entire structure of the radio station has been completely destroyed by the gunmen, but at least part of the equipment was saved, to be transported to the city of Pemba. The village of Muambula, where the Radio station is located, is under the control of the insurgents.
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