Mozambique rebels’ motivation must be understood – Chissano

The motivation behind the Islamist insurgency in northern Mozambique must be understood in order to pave the way towards a dialogue, former President Joaquim Chissano has told the BBC’s Focus on Africa radio.

He was expanding on his comments broadcast on state-owned Radio Mozambique on Wednesday.

He said that while the priority would always be to protect the people, there is a need to engage with those causing the violence.

“Talking should not be ruled out because many groups using terrorism as a method of fighting have ended up with some dialogue [with the authorities]”, the former president told the BBC’s Veronique Edwards.

He said that in his experience it was sometimes impossible to insist that fighting should end before talking begins, “so it’s better to find out how they can talk even if the fight continues”.

Mr Chissano said he used the approach successfully when dealing with rebels in Guinea-Bissau.

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