Mozambique elections: Army, police sent to troubled north

President Filipe Nyusi casting his vote at a polling station in the capital, Maputo.

Jose Tembe

BBC Africa, Maputo

Security has been reinforced in Mozambique’s gas-rich northern province of Cabo Delgado as polling stations opened on Tuesday.

The troubled province has bore the brunt of attacks staged by a group of Islamist militants, locally known as al-Shabab – which has no known relationship with the Somalia-based terror group known by the same name.

The group has been operating in Cabo Delgado province since October 2017. Its attacks have included beheadings, raiding of police stations and burning of houses which has left many villagers displaced.

The regional police command has called on villagers to enhance surveillance in their neighbourhoods in order to prevent attacks on election day.

Authorities have told villagers not to be alarmed by the massive presence of the military and police.

Political parties have also been warned against incitement to violence.

Meanwhile, some private firms have threatened to take action on employees who will fail to turn up to work on Tuesday despite the government declaring the day as a holiday.

The Mozambican labour ministry, through its spokesperson Jafar Buana, has called on employers to take the government’s directive seriously. He warned of punitive measures against offenders.

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