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Cablegate: Interior Minister Engaged On Counter-Terrorism

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.


E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. MAPUTO MZ 060803Z APR 04

B. MAPUTO MZ 171555Z DEC 03

1. (U) Summary: In an April 19 meeting with the Ambassador,
Interior Minister Almerino Manhenje described his plans to
travel to Texas for a counter-terrorism conference the week
of May 3. In addition, Manhenje described his goals of
reducing vulnerability to terrorism, drug trafficking,
trafficking in persons, and other contraband, as well as
money laundering and terrorist financing. He demonstrated an
awareness of the problems faced by the GRM in these areas and
described the government's interest in USG and other donor
assistance in increasing border and port security. The
Ambassador thanked the Minister for the cooperation of his
staff in coordinating our INL assistance to the Mozambican
Police Academy and recent assessment visits by DOJ ICITAP
officials to plan further assistance. End Summary.

2. (U) On April 19, the Ambassador called on Interior
Minister Manhenje, accompanied by RSO and Econ/Poloff
(notetaker); the minister was accompanied by his
International Relations Assistant Joachim Bule. Manhenje
opened the meeting by describing his invitation from Sam
Houston State University to be one of 28 participants in a
counter terrorism conference in early May. He will be
accompanied by the Vice Rector of the Mozambican Police
Academy (ACIPOL), who met the Sam Houston faculty member at
ILEA training in Roswell, NM in February 2003. Public
Diplomacy funds brought the professor to Maputo in September
2003 for speakers program events and the invitation to the
conference results from this new institutional linkage.

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3. (SBU) In the remainder of the meeting, Manhenje provided
his assessment of the challenges faced by his ministry in the
areas of counter-terrorism and border security. He
acknowledged the weaknesses of his Criminal Investigation
Police (PIC) and mentioned the current efforts to implement
judicial reform, which would create a Judicial Police on the
Portuguese model. He envisions such a new entity would
complement the PIC with more highly trained, professional
investigators. (Note: the PIC is widely viewed as highly
corrupt and ineffective. End Note.) Manhenje referred to
Mozambique's activities as the current chair of SARPCCO, the
Southern Africa Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation
Organization. He recognized the problems faced by the GRM in
trying to combat transborder crime and the growing role of
Mozambique as a transit country for narcotics, especially
cocaine originating in Brazil destined for South Africa.

4. (SBU) The minister also referred to a request made by
Mozambican Customs to the USG for equipment to give
Mozambique the capacity to examine containers at the major
ports (Maputo, Beira, and Nacala) and the principal border
crossings with South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Zambia.
Mozambique has no capacity to patrol its maritime border,
with an unprotected coastline twice the length of California
(ref A). He is eager for the border police to receive any
training that is available from USG agencies and also would
welcome any assistance to improve GRM capacity to track money
laundering. He noted the demographic factor of the large
number of Muslim businesses in the northern provinces
involved in importing goods for sale in Mozambique and the
difficulty his ministry faces in knowing the real names of
account holders and merchants bringing goods through customs
(ref B). He also confirmed reports of large numbers of
undocumented Pakistani aliens and the more recent trend of
Somali refugees entering or transiting Mozambique.

5. (SBU) Comment: Minister Manhenje is clearly aware of the
challenges the GRM faces and highly interested in further USG
assistance. He comes across as well-informed, charming and
an intelligent politician, and has proven capable of
withstanding criticism in his tenure at Interior. He is one
of the younger generation of cabinet heavyweights, and
appears to be adept at internal party power maneuvering. His
cooperative attitude with the USG seems sincere and his staff
has developed good working relations with post and with other
international donors.

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