A difficult day on the road in Mozambique

By Jonathan Paci on March 26, 2014

Jonathan Paci - In Mozambique - Sofala province

 

Mozambique is one of the many places I've been around Africa.

I am currently living in the Sofala province working for an NGO. The Italian Ministry of Foreing Affairs, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and several other foreign ministries advise against all but essential travel to Sofala Province, with the exception of the provincial capital, Beira.

This province is the base of the Renamo opposition party and there have been reports of a number of armed attacks in the region, including against vehicles travelling on the EN1 road, which have resulted in some fatalities. The situation in Sofala Province remains tense. This tension can be felt and noticed especially around the Gorongosa area, where the number of governmental troops is increasing (March 2014).

I am based in Caia, a rural area where all our programme activities are implemented, and due to the remoteness of this area I have to travel extensively around the province, especially on the EN1.

I always thought that the major risks I had to be aware of were the violent clashes between the governmental forces and the Renamo groups living in this area and the armed attacks that seldom occur also to civilian vehicles.

While the unstable political situation remains a potential threat, a constantly present and real risk is the road and its terrible conditions in this area.

Well, road conditions in Africa are often not as good as in Europe, but this is no surprise...what I was not expecting was to be hit by a big lorry which was driven by a speeding drunk driver, while going with colleagues to Quilimane.

The lorry that bumped into our car was carrying rice which soon became the object of desire of the communities living in that area. The number of people around the lorry gradually increased so as the attempts to steal the coveted gastronomic cargo. The situation was deteriorating more and more when suddenly a military truck arrived to restore order and stop the assault on the rice.

I can only be thankful to God if I am still here enjoying my experience in Mozambique, I feel as though I am writing from my second life.

  • Jonathan Paci - The rice assault Jonathan Paci - The arrival of the militaries Jonathan Paci - Getting back home

    Have your say