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Mozambique police have killed at least 10 members of the armed gang that attacked three police stations in the north of the country last night, a police spokesman has told Lusa.
In a status report yesterday evening, Inacio Dina said the figure was “around ten”, and that shots were still being heard sporadically in Mocímboa da Praia, the scene of the confrontations.
Police reinforcement and the pursuit of the remaining members of the about thirty-strong group of hooded men was underway.
At a police press conference in the afternoon, Dina said that two policemen and three gang members had been killed, and two arrested.
The detainees admitted they had attacked police installations but, according to Dina, gave “inconsequential” explanations about their motives and the organisation to which they belong.
“The big interest at the moment is trying to figure out who the ringleaders are,” he said. “Because of the organisation and the way they are deploying”, the group may be linked “to some operational structure”, he added.
A police force from Pemba, the provincial capital 350 kilometres to the south, and reinforcements from police posts closer at hand moved to Mocímboa da Praia to try to restore normality overnight.
“The force dispatched is stationed throughout the village”, to “repel any further concentration by the aggressors” as well as chasing others who have apparently escaped.
“Because they have firearms, we are also responding with firearms, and shots can still be heard, though localised and intermittent. There are no longer the sustained exchanges of fire that occurred at dawn and throughout the day [yesterday],” he said.
Nearly every establishment in the town was closed yesterday. Some village residents told Lusa by telephone and messaging services that they were choosing to stay at home, and a banking sector source said the Millennium Bim, BCI and Standard Bank branches in the village did not open, despite being undamaged.
According to Inácio Dina, the group attacked, almost simultaneously, the Auazi post, the 2nd Company of the Natural Resources and Environment Protection Police and the PRM District Command of Mocímboa da Praia.
They used firearms, including two automatic machine guns, and machetes were seized.
Mocímboa da Praia is about 100 kilometres from the border with Tanzania.Source: Lusa