2016-02-12

How much of the $850 million budget that the publicly-privately owned Mozambican company Ematum had to purchase a fishing fleet actually went to military hardware? 

In 2013, Mozambique borrowed $850 million ostensibly to fund the purchase of a tuna fishing fleet, through a publicly-privately owned special purpose company called Ematum. It soon emerged that much of the money was used to purchase military hardware – but it remains unclear how much. There are strong suspicions that some of the missing money might have been used to arm the military for a land offensive against opposition forces, which led to human rights abuses against the civilian population, and which appears to be being covered up.

A team of a Mozambican, Swiss and British journalist wants to find out how much of the money is still unaccounted for, whether it was spent on arms, and what is the human cost of the armed violence, which seems to be getting worse every day.

The first of three articles stems from interviews with communities affected by recent violence between government and opposition forces. The official narrative in Mozambique is that the opposition Renamo is to blame for violence against the civilian population, but the testimonies the team heard during their investigation put the blame on government forces, and show that it was mainly government forces who were responsible and that the human rights abuses are systematic and taking place around Mozambique. Moreover, the team uncovered evidence that an attempt to kill the leader of the main opposition party was perpetrated by government forces – despite government denials.

This investigation was funded through Journalismfund.eu's Connecting Continents programme.

Photo © Nicolas Raymond

Aurelio Sambo

Aurelio Sambo was born and grew up in the Mozambican capital, Maputo, where he now works as a freelance journalist. 

Tom Bowker

Tom Bowker is a freelance journalist based in Maputo, Mozambique, and co-founder and editor of Zitamar News, an English-language online news source for Mozambique. 

Simon Kamm

Simon Kamm is an experienced journalist and published author, now working freelance between Lisbon, London and Berlin.

Supported
Grant of €6.910, allocated on 23/09/2015
ID
CC/2015/016

Help us support in-depth and independent journalism.

We rely on your support to continue the work that we do. Make a gift of any amount today.

Donate!