President Filipe Nyusi urged Islamist militants in Mozambique’s far north to surrender on Monday, saying they had nowhere to run after allied Rwandan, Mozambican, and southern African forces pushed them out of territory they had been occupying.
Nyusi’s comments on Peace and National Reconciliation Day came a day after regional southern African forces confirmed the death of a senior Islamist militant leader and 18 other fighters.
In a statement originating from the Southern Africa Development Community’s mission in Mozambique, it listed Ndanjile as one of the key figures responsible for recruiting and indoctrinating members of Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama’a (ASWJ).
Nyusi said his goal was to encourage people not to wait until death to strike — that was not the purpose of protecting and securing them. “Surrender yourself … because you have nowhere else to go. You are running from one forest to another, being pursued endlessly.”
Many areas previously held by militants have been cleared, including the town of Mocimboa da Praia, captured by insurgents over a year ago. According to security forces, insurgent bases have also been destroyed.
Nyusi said that it was likely that the leaders of the insurgency had fled, possibly even abroad, yet there were concerns for those lower down the chain, especially if they had been forced to join them.
“We want our compatriots to be on our side, not the other side,” he said.