MAPUTO-- There are 32 Tanzanian citizens among 214 the Islamist terrorists arrested in connection with attacks in the northern Mozambican district of Mocimboa da Praia, and they will be put on trial in Mozambique rather than extradited to Tanzania, according to the spokesperson for the Cabo Delgado provincial attorney's office, Armando Wilson.

Media reports Wednesday quoted Wilson as saying that if the Tanzanian nationals are found guilty of acts of destabilisation before a Mozambican court, they will also serve their sentences in Mozambican jails.

Discussing extradition right now is out of the question. The priority is to hold each person responsible for his participation in the attacks against police units, murders, destruction of property and other crimes, he added.

Wilson revealed that 214 suspects are currently in custody -- 32 Tanzanians and 182 Mozambicans. The public prosecutor's office, he added, will draw up a definitive charge sheet against each of them this week. The Tanzanians will only be deported to Tanzania after serving any sentence a court may impose.

The charges arise out of the abortive jihadist insurrection on Oct 5, 2017, when Islamist groups attacked three police units in Mocimboa da Praia. The police re-asserted control over Mocimboa town within a day, but there have been sporadic attacks subsequently on the Mocimboa da Praia roads and in the neighbouring districts of Palma and Nangade.

Wilson said it is imperative to study the real motivations of the attackers, since in police interrogations so far none of the prisoners has said anything substantial. To date, the law of silence is in force. It has been difficult to gather from the attackers any information about their real motives. So far it's all speculation. It's important to hear from them what is behind these crimes, he said.

Some say they were enticed, and they agreed to take part because of their poverty. Others say they don't know how they became involved in this web."