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Photo: O País
The situation in Cabo Delgado is far from calm. Last Thursday night, the deadliest attack ever occurred in the village of Pequeué, administrative post of Quitarejo, about 70 km from the headquarters town of the Macomia district. An unspecified number of attackers stormed the village at around 9:30 p.m. in an attack which lasted one hour, leaving behind 10 dead, 14 wounded and more than 50 homes burned, O País reports.
The population report that the group has evolved its modus operandi, with a significant proportion of the members carrying automatic weapons, in contrast to previous instances, when most carried only machetes.
In the latest incident, O País reports that a wedding in the village had attracted many people who, it being a moonlit night, were able to observe the members of the terrorist group more clearly.
“First, they fired into the air from afar for about ten minutes, to see if there would be answering fire or not. Then they came into the village and started shooting people,” village secretary Aly Abomar said.
Abomar said that because of the wave of terrorist violence, they had asked the government for weapons, but their request was not granted. “We died because of the resistance, because we did not want any of these evildoers to come here in our village. Before, we asked for weapons for the defence of our village, but since our request was not considered, we had no weapons. We kept watch with bows and arrows, machetes and walking sticks,” he related.
One of the villagers, who survived by fleeing as soon as he realised there were strangers in the village, said: “We used to say that they had no weapons, but this time they came with guns, I saw them.”
The son of Cassimo Chande, another witness, was among the 14 wounded. “My son was shot in the hand and the bullet did not exit. He is in the Mueda hospital,” Chande relates.
The climate of war continues. On August 23, the village of Ilala was attacked, with two dead, and on September 7 there was an assault on Namaneco village, but this time without casualties. Both incidents occurred in Macomia district.
Some soldiers in the front line say that one of the difficulties in stopping the violence is the lack of cooperation in many communities, who in some cases have seen family members recruited by the terrorists.
Another important piece of information suggests that the attackers invade villages where there are young people who have rebutted invitations to join the attackers or have taken payments but not joined up.
“So when they come to a village, they are looking for the house of ‘Mr So-and-So’, who is already on their list, and go and kill them and burn their house,” a military officer in command of one of the positions in Quitarejo told us. A line of reasoning that may well explain why, since the attacks on Cabo Delgado began in October last year, the victims are predominantly young men.
By Ricardo Machava
Source: O País