Cabo Delgado: United Nations says there is evidence of terrorist financing through organized crime

Cabo Delgado: Nações Unidas dizem haver indícios de financiamento ao terrorismo através do crime organizado

There are indications that terrorism in Cabo Delgado is being financed through organized crime, according to the representative in Mozambique of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

"It is possible that organized crime is financing terrorist activities [in Cabo Delgado] through its illicit activities," said António De Vivo.

Despite having made this observation, De Vivo clarified that this evidence has not yet led to more solid proof of the occurrence of this phenomenon in Portugal.

"It's important to note that there is still no evidence that can point in this direction in a solid and clear way. There are some indications that point in this direction, but this is something that will have to be investigated and deepened," he clarified.

However, he noted that Mozambique presents a high potential risk or pressing weakness for cooperation between organized crime and terrorism, considering the experience of other countries.

"What is certain is that these links between organized crime and terrorist groups is something that has already been seen in other countries, and there are obviously all the elements for this to happen or come to happen, if it isn't already happening, here in Mozambique too. It's important to stress that there is no concrete evidence yet. There are indications that could point to a potential form of cooperation. But what is certain is that this has already happened elsewhere. We know from the experience of other countries that this is possible. And so we have to work as if it were already happening," he said.

António De Vivo was speaking today in Maputo, on the sidelines of the opening of the Multilateral Consultation Meeting on the National Strategy to Combat Organized Crime in Mozambique, which ends on Friday (16).

Questioned by MZNews on the involvement of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in organized crime in Mozambique, António de Vivo was adamant that there is still no evidence pointing to such collaboration.

Remember that in August 2023, the Government approved the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing LawOne of the main objectives of the bill is to monitor the origin of the funds that finance NGOs, as they are seen as a source of money laundering and terrorist financing. Even though it was only a draft law, civil society has criticized the executive branch's claim.

On the other hand, the United Nations has expressed its willingness to continue cooperating with the Mozambican state in the fight against organized crime.

"We as UNODC have already shown our openness and willingness to support this kind of cooperation. These phenomena need to be tackled from an international perspective and that's what we're trying to promote," he said, noting that the Attorney General's Office and the National Criminal Investigation Service "are aware of the importance of this cooperation".

At the beginning of February, the Prosecutors General (PGR), Police and Criminal Investigation Services of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries met in Maputo to discuss joint strategies to combat organized and transnational crime.

At the meeting, it was agreed that the countries should share information through the OPGs and invest in the training of magistrates, in a context of various types of crime occurring in transnational organized networks.

In September 2022, a similar meeting was held in Maputo and brought together South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Congo, e-Suatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Mozambique has been confronting terrorism in Cabo Delgado since October 2017, with the support of the Southern African Development Community Military Mission (SAMIM), Rwandan troops and the European Union.

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