Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi in Tuesday announced that the government will pay a “risk allowance” to health professionals and to young soldiers who put their lives in danger to protect other citizens.

He made the announcement at Mueda, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, where he chaired commemorations of the 60th anniversary of the Mueda massacre, on 16 June 1960, when Portuguese colonial troops opened fire on peaceful demonstration.

Speaking of the dedication of the country’s health workers, Nyusi guaranteed that the government “will shortly decide on the sum of danger money to be paid”.

It is the Covid-19 pandemic that has brought this matter into sharp focus, since health professionals are among those who have fallen ill with this respiratory disease. Nyusi praised the commitment of doctors, nurses and first aid workers who have risked contracting Covid-19. The government, he stressed, must, exceptionally, provide special assistance to this group of professionals.

Nyusi expressed his appreciation for the courage shown by young soldiers in the defence and security forces, in the front line of the struggle against terrorism in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, and against the violence of the self-styled “Renamo Military Junta” in the centre of the country.

They too will receive a risk allowance in recognition of the sacrifices they are making to defend the country, far from their families, although Nyusi said he is aware that no amount of money can pay for such sacrifices.

Those who died in Mueda 60 years ago, he said “were barbarously murdered merely because they said no to oppression and to the colonial yoke, because they wanted to reaffirm their right to self-determination”.

The massacre, he continued, was a repugnant and inhuman act committed by the Portuguese authorities to silence the voice of Mozambicans. But it ended up “bringing to the surface te inhuman character of the Portuguese colonial system”.

Six decades later, Mozambique remains an independent and sovereign nation, he added, despite the terrorist attacks in Cabo Delgado. In order to mitigate the impact of the violence, said Nyusi, the government had set up the Agency for the Integrated Development of the North (ADIN) with the specific mission of driving the development of the region, and particularly of the areas damaged by terrorism.

“We shall continue to fight against any type of divisiveness and aggression”, declared Nyusi. “We shall fight against the looting of the resources of the country”.

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