Mozambique: Villages in southern Cabo Delgado attacked, at least four dead

Armed groups on Thursday attacked villages in the south of Cabo Delgado province, in the districts of Quissanga and Meluco, causing at least four deaths, residents and local sources told Lusa.

The areas hit, in the districts of Quissanga and Meluco, are far from the areas in which Mozambican troops with support from Rwanda and the SADC mission have announced recapturing territory and dismantling rebel bases, located in the northeast of the province.

A resident of the village of Lindi told Lusa he had witnessed the arrival of unknown armed men who on Thursday, at 5:00 p.m. (4:00 p.m. in Lisbon), burnt down houses and vehicles and drove him to flee to Ancuabe.

He saw at least one person injured, with neighbours who gathered in Ancuabe today reporting the death of a child and three adults.

A source from local forces told Lusa that in the same region, in Iba, Meluco district, there was an ambush by unknown persons against a flatbed vehicle transporting people and goods.

The attack happened at sunset, shortly after 5pm on a dirt road and caused two injured, admitted to Meluco hospital, one of them being a mother who was carrying a 6-month-old baby.

According to the same source, a bus that on Thursday morning had transported military personnel from Pemba to Macomia, a town in the centre of the province, was shot at while returning empty to the provincial capital.

The incident happened around 18:00, on National Road 380 (the only tarred road linking the north to the south of Cabo Delgado), near Namoja, close to the Montepuez river, in a strip adjacent to the previous attacks.

The vehicle did not stop, managing to reach Pemba to be repaired.

Despite attempts, Lusa was unable to obtain clarification from the Mozambican defence and security authorities.

Cabo Delgado is a province rich in natural gas but terrorised since 2017 by armed rebels, with some attacks claimed by the extremist group Islamic State.

The conflict has led to more than 3,100 deaths, according to the ACLED conflict registration project, and more than 817,000 displaced people, according to Mozambican authorities.

Since July, an offensive by government troops with support from Rwanda which was later joined by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) allowed for increased security, recovering several areas where there was rebel presence, including the town of Mocímboa da Praia, which had been occupied since August 2020.

Source: Lusa

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