Soldiers and health workers in Mozambique are to be given “danger money” for putting their lives on the line to protect people, the president has said.
Filipe Nyusi made the announcement at an event to mark the 60th anniversary of a massacre in Mueda, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, where colonial Portuguese troops fired on peaceful demonstrators demanding independence.
The amount of the risk allowance to be paid was still to be decided, the president said.
For the last two-and-a-half years, soldiers have been fighting Islamist militants in gas-rich Cabo Delgado.
President Nyusi commended the bravery of the troops taking on the jihadists and in their fight against Renamo rebels, in the centre of the country, who are refusing to disarm.
He also paid tribute to health workers, saying the coronavirus pandemic had brought into focus that they too were risking their lives fighting the infectious respiratory disease.
It is not known how many people died during the Mueda massacre on 16 June 1960 – nationalist freedom fighters put the figure at 600.
President Nyusi said they had been barbarously murdered because they had said no to oppression and the yoke of colonialism.
He said it was a reminder of the cruelty of the colonial administrators – but the commemoration should also serve to remind Mozambicans that their country was still free despite the problems they faced.
To help Cabo Delgado overcome the violence, the government had set up an agency to develop the region, particularly those areas most damaged by the jihadists, he said.