Maputo, 8 Jan (AIM) – Three attacks by islamist terrorists were reported between Thursday and Saturday, in the villages of Malinde, Chinde and Chimbanga, in Mocimboa da Praia district, in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado, in which at least five people were murdered, reports Monday’s issue of the independent newssheet “Carta de Mocambique”.
Of the five deaths, three occurred in Chimbanga village, which is less than ten kilometres from Mocimboa da Praia town. The other two deaths were reported from Chinda, while in Malinde the terrorists stole property, but did not kill anybody.
The attacks caused frightened villagers to flee to Mocimboa town. One eye-witness, Mussa Assumane, told the paper “since last week many people have been coming to the town from Chimbanga and Ntotwe villages, and particularly from the islands because of these attacks”.
He said that Rwandan troops responsible for a security cordon around Mocimboa da Praia have, since Saturday, banned travel from Mocimboa to elsewhere in the country.
“On Saturday, nobody left Mocimboa da Praia”, said another resident, Faquih Assumane. “The Rwandans are preventing travel. Only cars from Pemba, Nampula, Mueda, Palma or Nangade can come in, but among us here nobody can leave. Many people wanted to leave, but had to come home”.
A source in the Mocimboa da Praia district government said that the number of deaths in an attack against Ntowe village, on 3 January, has risen from two to three. More than 20 houses and about 10 shops were burn down in this raid.
The Mocimboa da Praia district administrator, Sergio Domingos, visited Ntotwe to show his solidarity. Despite the terrorist threat, he urged the villages to commit themselves to agricultural production.
The paper’s sources confirmed that in an attack against the small town of Chai, in Macomia district, last Thursday, one person was killed, three stalls were destroyed, and foodstuffs were looted.
The latest Cabo Delgado attacks seem part of a wider offensive by the self-styled “Islamic State” terrorist group in several countries. The most spectacular of these raids was the suicide attack last Wednesday in Iran, carried out by an Afghan affiliate of “Islamic State”, in which 84 people were massacred.
According to a report in a second newsheet “Mediafax”, this international offensive is taking place under the chilling slogan “kill them wherever you find them”. The offensive was declared in a message from the official spokesperson of Islamic State, Abu Hudayfah al-Ansari.
The latest wave of raids comes at a time when the forces of SAMIM (SADC Military Mission in Mozambique) are preparing for their demobilization, since the SAMIM mandate expires in June.