Maputo, 13 Aug (AIM) – About 120 families living in Mafarinha neighborhood, in the municipality of Dondo, in the central Mozambican province of Sofala, have accused the privately-owned Mozambique Explosives Factory (FEM), of usurping their land.
According to local resident, Domingo Ranco, claiming to represent the dispossessed families, cited by the Portuguese news agency LUSA, ‘I have no other space to build. I have a wife and two children, like so many other people who have built and lived in this area for more than 40 years. I am not alone.’
According to Ranco, who has lived in the area for over 10 years, when FEM moved in, the families were already on the site and, after consultation meetings, a limit of 500 metres between the houses and the explosives factory was agreed but this limit was then disregarded by the company.
However, the Mayor of Dondo, Manuel Chaparica, claims that the residents violated the rules of territorial planning, since they are in an area of danger.
According to him, there is no doubt that the citizens occupied the FEM security area, ‘and one of the solutions found by the municipality was to identify a new space for families.’
‘We have already identified a space for the resettlement of the 120 families, in the same residential area, with a distance of 500 meters from the factory, as a solution to the problem. At the moment, FEM is producing landmarks to demarcate plots, which are expected to be delivered to the community soon,’ he explained.
The Mayor also said that the municipality has already held several meetings with the families concerned, warning about exposure to danger, but they were not welcomed by the population.
‘So we are looking at other ways to accommodate their concerns, but they must leave the danger zone to avoid what happened with the explosion in the port of Beirut, for example’, he said.
The FEM stores raw materials for the production of explosives, as well as the final product in transit to the central, northern and southern region of the country.