"Military intervention without social development actions will create oil enclaves"

“Intervenção militar sem acções de desenvolvimento social vai criar enclaves petrolíferos”

Analysts said today that a foreign military intervention unaccompanied by social and economic development actions in Cabo Delgado will create "oil enclaves" in the multinationals' areas of operation, but "will not eliminate the armed insurgency".

"I am not optimistic about a military solution, as long as the official discourse is not emphatic about the sociological root of the conflict in Cabo Delgado," João Feijó, a researcher at the Observatório do Meio Rural (OMR), a Mozambican civil society organization with studies on the war in the province, told Lusa.

Rwanda began sending military and police personnel on Friday to combat insurgency in the northern province of Cabo Delgado as part of a 1,000-strong mission.

A Southern African Development Community (SADC) military force is also expected to be deployed in theater in that province.

João Feijó believes that the presence of a Rwandan contingent and the deployment of a SADC force seem to be aimed at protecting the interests of the multinationals involved in the natural gas projects in the Rovuma basin, which could result in "an oil enclave.

"If the mandate of these forces is the protection of gas projects, although undeclared, we will have an oil enclave there and with a larger perimeter inaccessible to the population, who will be unprotected," he said.

Military intervention, he continued, must go hand in hand with decisive social and economic development actions that offer opportunities and hope to young people.

"There are thousands of young people in the region who are unemployed and humiliated by the state, who are easy prey for recruitment by armed groups," the OMR researcher pointed out.

On the other hand, he continued, doubts are raised about the success of military actions conducted by conventional armies in an "asymmetric war against groups of guerrillas that easily blend in with the population," as is the case in Cabo Delgado.

João Feijó emphasized that fighting the insurgency could be a prolonged war of patience, with risks of generating more cycles of violence and human rights abuses.

Adriano Nuvunga, a political scientist and director of the Center for Democracy and Development (CDD), also warned about "the militarization of the perimeter of the large natural gas projects and the continued disenfranchisement of the populations if the military intervention is not done with a boost in social development."

"It is not enough to offer the military way to the population of Cabo Delgado without providing development, because the seed of revolt will continue and will germinate, as soon as the terrain allows this explosion," Nuvunga considered.

The Integrated Development Agency of the North (ADIN), a state entity, must start producing tangible results, especially in job creation and youth training, so that the spirit of revolt does not multiply, he argued.

"Foreign military aid is not eternal, but the revolt passes from generation to generation and continues when the causes are not tackled," he stressed.

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