Mozambican Muslims deny attackers' links with religion - Pemba
In addition to the seven known deaths, the raiders injured four other people, burnt down 164 houses and set four vehicles ablaze.Dina said the police believe the attackers at Naude are part of the same group that beheaded ten people in Palma district on 27 May. Photo: O País
Islamic fundamentalists murdered seven people in a pre-dawn raid on Tuesday against the village of Naude, in Macomia district, in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado.
At a Maputo press briefing later in the day, the spokesperson for the General Command of the police, Inacio Dina, confirmed the attack. In addition to the seven known deaths, the raiders injured four other people, burnt down 164 houses and set four vehicles ablaze.
Dina said the police believe the attackers at Naude are part of the same group that beheaded ten people in Palma district on 27 May. Nine people believed to be part of this jihadist unit died in clashes with the defence and security forces on Friday near the boundary between Palma and Mocimboa da Praia districts.
Dina said the latest attack was the work of six people, whom the police have already identified, and who are natives of Macomia. He claimed they are remnants of the jihadist group involved in the Friday clashes.
The raiders who surprised the villagers of Naude used machetes to kill and maim their victims. They used a cigarette lighter to set huts on fire, and a strong wind spread the fires rapidly.
“These people may be part of the group the police have been chasing since the events of 27 May”, said Dina. After the beheadings of that day, the police had launched a manhunt “and in the pursuit, we realise this group may have switched to Naude”.
There had been no arrests so far, but Dina insisted that the defence and security forces are working on the ground to detain the criminals and restore order throughout Macomia.
“The work of the defence and security forces is to pursue this group, to hunt them down so that they can be held responsible for the crimes they have committed”, said Dina. The crimes they could be charged with, he added, include first degree murder, causing grievous bodily harm, and arson.
The islamists, known locally as “Al-Shabaab” (but without any known connection with the Somali terrorist group of that name), began their insurgency on 5 October last year, with attacks on police installations in Mocimboa da Praia district. Mocimboa da Praia has been the epidentre of jihadist activity, but the raids have spilled into the neighbouring districts of Palma, Nangade and Macomia.