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Photo taken this afternoon, January 15, in the village of Palma. Pinnacle News estimates that more than half of the population of Olumbi Administrative Post of the District of Palma, Cabo Delgado is leaving to uncertain places, due to insecurity. Photo: Sekelekani / Pinnacle News Facebook
Unidentified armed men on Saturday night attacked the administrative post of Olumbe, in Palma district, in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado, according to a report in Monday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”.
The Palma district administrator, David Mashimboko, confirmed the disturbances, but gave no details. He did not confirm or deny reports that the attackers had killed about 30 Olumbe residents, burnt down homes and looted public institutions.
“Currently the police are on the ground to ascertain exactly what happened”, said Mashimboko. “We are waiting for this information”.
The Palma district police commander, Gervasio Mahajage, could also add no details. He too was waiting for the force sent to Olumbe to return.
It is reasonable to suspect that the group that attacked Olumbe is from the same Islamic fundamentalist organisation that raided police positions in Mocimboa da Praia district on 5 October, and has clashed sporadically with the police since then.
Olumbe is about half way between Mocimboa and Palma towns. The spread of an islamist insurrection to Palma must be a matter of concern, since this is the district where huge investments are planned to extract and process offshore natural gas.
Little is known about the islamist group, which is referred to locally as “Al-Shabaab” although it seems to have no direct connection with the Somali terrorist group of that name. It has been strongly condemned by orthodox moslem organisations in Cabo Delgado, who complain that the government did not take them seriously when they warned of the dangers posed by this group.
Most of the insurgents arrested in Mocimboa da Praia are Mozambicans, but there are also Tanzanian citizens in the group.Source: AIM