Please allow me some space in your paper to comment on the article Botswana, RSA deploy troops to Mozambique that appeared on April 11, 2021 issue of The Patriot on Sunday. This article looked at what should be done to deal with the latest attacks by Islamic insurgents on innocent civilians in the north of Mozambique.
Dithapelo Keorapetse believes that the problem is political and that military intervention is not needed, and he is quoted as saying ‘…the so-called terrorists…’ This seems to suggest that he does not really consider these Muslim jihadists, or fanatics, as terrorists. But terrorists they are since terrorists are people who use violence such as shooting, bombing, beheading, etc to forward their own interests! Such people also kill or maim locals on the pretext that they have ‘broken’ Sharia Law. But the reality is that they have committed atrocities and crimes against humanity. In fact, many sincere, devout Muslims (the vast majority of Muslims) believe that such people are not really Muslims at all. The insurgents in Mozambique have similar aims and ideology as other terrorist Muslim jihadist organisations – Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab. They are on a jihad, or struggle – a ‘holy war’ against what they consider to be enemies of Islam – governments such as the US government, Christians, the Church, and others. So it’s not just about the marginalisation of certain rural regions such as Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province, as is claimed by Keorapetse. Islamic insurgents have also attacked targets in major towns and cities in East Africa. For example, the US embassy in Nairobi was attacked by Muslim insurgents in August 1998; the resulting carnage led to 218 deaths and more than 5 000 injured, most of whom were Kenyans. Also, at the same time, the US embassy in Dar es Salaam was bombed. And in May 2015, insurgents killed 142 students at Garissa university in Garissa town in eastern Kenya; almost all of these students were non-Muslims. And many marginalised rural areas throughout Africa have not been troubled by Muslim insurgents.
Boko Haram seeks to set up an Islamic caliphate which would occupy northern Nigeria, and parts of Niger and Chad. Once again, it’s about subjecting locals to Islamic fundamentalism with all its horrors. In northern Nigeria, the town of Jos, not a marginalised area, has been a target – over the last twenty years hundreds of Christians have been killed and churches burnt down here. In her book, A Gift from Darkness, Patience Ibrahim narrates how she and her young daughter managed to escape from the clutches of Boko Haram in north eastern Nigeria. She describes the many atrocities committed by the insurgents against defenceless women – kidnappings, torture, killings, rape…
You cannot negotiate with jihadists; if you do, it will be seen as a sign of weakness and they will move into other areas to cause havoc again. Force must be met with force – so military intervention is necessary in northern Mozambique. There will never be true peace there unless the insurgents are well and truly defeated.
The book of Genesis in the Bible speaks about the two sons of Abraham – Isaac and Ishmael. Whilst Isaac is the ancestor of the Jewish nation, Ishmael is said to be the ancestor of the Arabs who are Muslims. In Genesis 16 v 11-12, we read:
And the Angel of the Lord said to Hagar (Sarah’s maid):
‘Behold, you are with child,
And you shall bear a son.
You shall call his name Ishmael,
Because the Lord has heard your affliction.
He shall be a wild man;
His hand shall be against every man…’
Now today other people, besides the Arabs, are Muslims. And so these verses describe the behaviour of Muslim jihadists regardless of their nationality or race. They do not know the meaning of the word peace; all that they know is violence! And in Islam’s Holy Book, the Koran, we read in Chapter 9 v.29:
‘Fight those who believe not in Allah……even if they are People of the Book…’
People of the Book here refers to both Jews and Christians. Many Muslim jihadists would quote this verse to justify their attacks on innocent people. So again, to the jihadists, Christians are seen as one of the enemies of Islam.
In conclusion, we should hope and pray that the BDF will perform honourably, as they have done elsewhere in the past, and contribute to the downfall of the jihadists in northern Mozambique and so bring peace to that region.