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Interior Minister Basilio Monteiro admitted that people are now fleeing from their homes. Photo: Twitter
The total damage from Wednesday night’s attack by Islamic fundamentalists against the village of Namuluco, in Quissanga district, in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado, stands at seven dead, one person injured and 210 houses destroyed, according to the Quissanga district administrator, Bartolomeu Muibo, cited in Friday’s issue of the independent newssheet “Mediafax”.
Muibo said the attackers struck the village at about 21.30, and invaded homes, killing whoever they found. Alerted by the screams of the victims, other villagers fled from their houses and sought refuge in the bush. They only returned to Namuluco in the early hours of Thursday morning.
They found devastation. 70 of the homes destroyed were traditional huts with thatched roofs, and 140 were more modern dwellings covered with zinc sheets. In addition, the raiders vandalised the local health post and stole its medicines. They also stole goods from three informal stalls.
Muibo said that of the six people murdered, four were hacked to death with machetes, and the other two died inside their blazing houses.
By the time units of the defence and security forces arrived later on Thursday morning, the extremist gang had left. Reaching the village is not easy, and involves a journey of 16 kilometres from the main road along a dirt track through dense forest. The attackers were able to take advantage of this terrain.
Muibo claimed “the local, provincial and central governments, and the defence and security forces are making every effort to guarantee order and security, and public tranquillity”.
Interior Minister Basilio Monteiro arrived in Quissanga later on Thursday to assess the situation, and to take measures to end the climate of insecurity. He admitted that people are now fleeing from their homes, but insisted that the government is committed to restoring order and normality.
Cited in the Maputo daily “Noticias”, Monteiro said “We are sure that, as a result of these murders, many people are fleeing to other areas, regarded as safe. But we want to restore order and tranquillity”.
The violence is now affecting the hydrocarbon industry in Cabo Delgado. The Canadian company Wentworth Resources has been obliged to seek an extension of its licence because of what it described as a “challenging” security situation.
This week Mozambique’s National Petroleum Institute (INP) confirmed that the extension has been granted until June 2019. A release issued by Wentworth on Wednesday said the extension will enable the company, working in partnership with Mozambique’s National Hydrocarbon Company (ENH), “to continue to progress pre-drilling activities in the Tembo block”.
This is an onshore block in Mocimboa da Praia district, which shows strong potential for natural gas. But the islamist activities in Mocimboa da Praia “have prevented safe access to the area for Wentworth staff and contractors”, said the release.Source: AIM