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The Mozambican Defence Ministry on Wednesday issued a release announcing further clashes between the defence and security forces and the terrorist groups, believed to be inspired by Islamic fundamentalism, who are active in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
The brief release gave few details, stating merely that on Monday night and Tuesday morning the government forces killed “a considerable number” of the insurgents in the Mbau region, between the Messalo and Muera rivers, in the district of Mocimboa da Praia.
Mozambican artillery then destroyed the insurgents’ camp, and the survivors fled.
This was clearly the continuation of a government offensive that began on Saturday when, according to an earlier Defence Ministry release, nine insurgents were killed in a clash in the Limbala-Ndau area.
Defence Minister Atanasio M’tumuke had visited the theatre of operations last Friday, where he had presumably discussed strategy against the insurgents with the local military commanders.
Despite these government successes, it must be doubted whether voters in much of Mocimboa da Praia, and neighbouring districts will be able to cast their ballots in the general and provincial elections scheduled for next Tuesday.
Because of the terrorist raids in recent months, many citizens have abandoned their villages in the interior and have fled to the Cabo Delgado coast and islands. People are supposed to vote in the same places where they registered as voters (in April and May). For a large number of people affected by the attacks, this will not be possible.
Complicating matters still further is the collapse on Wednesday morning of part of a metallic bridge over the Mapwedi river in Muidumbe district. This makes overland transport between the southern and northern districts of Cabo Delgado impossible.
According to the Muidumbe district administrator, Carlos Napava, cited in Thursday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, the problem was probably caused by an overweight truck crossing the bridge. There is a weight limit of 28 tonnes on the bridge. Any vehicle above that weight which tries to cross the bridge is likely to damage it.
The construction company Condoril is already building a concrete bridge over the Mapwedi. The metallic bridge has operated as a bypass while the concrete bridge is being built. Condoril has sent a team to repair the metallic bridge and restore traffic.
Nampava thought the normal flow of traffic will be restored by some time on Thursday or Friday.Source: AIM