Armed group kills seven in Mozambican district of Palma
A new attack on Wednesday night by an armed group in northern Mozambique has left six dead in the village of Namaluco, Quissanga district, Cabo Delgado, where around 200 houses were burned down, officials and residents have told Lusa news agency.
Some of the six dead were shot and others beheaded, they added, with two left seriously injured by gunfire.
According to reports, locals began to flee the village at about 9:00 p.m., as the armed group entered, provoking screams and uproar. A scenario similar to that of previous attacks then played out.
The village has 1,500 to 2,000 inhabitants, no electricity or infrastructure, is accessible only via dirt road and has houses built by the inhabitants. The nearest district headquarters villages, Quissanga and Macomia, where there is electricity and services, are some tens of kilometres away.
Residents said they heard the attackers speaking Swahili, a language spoken in Tanzania [but also in northern Mozambique and other countries*], plus other languages they did not recognise. Other local sources report that the fire of the burning village was visible from the island of Ibo (Quissanga is a coastal district), whence inhabitants of the region are fleeing for safety.
This is the fourth attack on villages in the northern province of Cabo Delgado in 12 days, bringing to at least 24 the number of inhabitants and to 11 the number of suspects killed.
This new wave of violence began with raids on the villages of 25 de Junhho and Monjane, in the district of Palma, on 27 May, with ten killed by decapitation. Another inhabitant was killed in Muti on Thursday, 31 May.
However, during operations of the authorities with the support of the population in the district of Palma, 11 suspected members of the armed groups were killed: nine on Friday, June 1st, and another two on Sunday, June 3rd, local sources told Lusa.
Police spokesman Inácio Dina confirmed the operation of June 1st, saying that the deaths occurred after the suspects refused to obey an order to surrender.
On the night of 4th-5th, attackers killed seven in the village of Naunde, Macomia district, and reduced about 160 houses to ashes. Police said on Tuesday at a press conference that Naunde had been targeted by the remnants of the group responsible for the ten beheadings of May 27.
Mulheres e crianças naturais de diferentes aldeias do distrito de #Macomia em deslocação a procura de segurança no Arquipélago das Quirimbas, fugindo assim dos ataques promovidos por grupos extremistas que desde Outubro do ano passado aterrorizam #CaboDelgado, #Moçambique. pic.twitter.com/BxnBxHklxu
— Alexandre Zerinho (@AllexandreMZ) June 7, 2018
The province of Cabo Delgado in northern Mozambique has been targeted by armed groups since October 2017, causing an undetermined number of deaths and displaced persons.
A study released in May in Maputo points to the existence of illegal trade networks in the region and the movement of radical Islamist groups from countries to the north as among the roots of the violence.
A number of investments focussing on natural gas and involving some of the world’s largest oil companies are under way in the province.
*Swahili has official language status in Tanzania and Kenya and is also widely spoken in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Comoros Islands. It’s also spoken by smaller numbers in Burundi, Rwanda, Northern Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique (Source: BBC) .Source: Lusa