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In an open challenge to the Defence and Security Forces in Cabo Delgado, led by a central brigade under the Minister of the Interior, local Mozambican so-called ‘Al Shabaab’ insurgents staged further attacks on villages in the north of the country on Monday and Tuesday, murdering at least five more civilians and two soldiers, and bringing to 39 the total number of people killed since last May.
The insurgents attacked the village of Changa in Nagade district on Monday, wielding machetes and at least one firearm, killing four defenceless citizens and burning seven homes, Mediafax reports.
Near the same village, according to Lusa, the group attacked an FDS camp on Monday night killing two FDS members and leaving one injured.
These two attacks by the so-called ‘Al Shabaab’ (the group has no connection with the Somali terrorist group of the same name) have now spread the terror of October 2017 to six of the 15 districts of Cabo Delgado, a province rich in natural resources such as wood, rubies, natural gas and graphite.
At dawn on Tuesday, the terrorist movement, which Mozambican academics have said is organized in cells of 10 to 20 men, again attacked the district of Macomia, where Minister of Interior, Jaime Basílio Monteiro, who has been in the province since last week to “normalise the security situation and stability of the communities”, is leading the response.
“Our presence as the Defence Force and Security is precisely this. Pursue them to exhaustion, find them and make Mucujo, Quiterajo, Quissanga and anywhere else in the province of Cabo Delgado free from the criminal action of these evildoers,” Monteiro told reporters.
According to journalists accompanying Monteiro, the operational command, which includes “officers at the highest level” aims to combat any type of destabilisation action carried out by groups of young people who have been killing defenceless people, in addition to destroying their homes and other properties.
Al Shabaab appears to be challenging FDS
Last week, the capture of three of this same ‘Al Shabaab’ group members was announced.
“I was like a thief in the woods,” one of the captives, Sumail Amade, told Radio Mozambique. “Then I thought and fled the bush. One day I asked (the boss), what is this job? And the chief of the criminals threatened to kill me with a machete. The chiefs are called Aly Machud, Bonomar, Nuro, Kidjepéri, Ndzorógue of Tanzania, chief Hassane of Tanzania, and chief Momad Ibrahimo.”
‘ This so-called ‘Al Shabaab’ appears to have defied the Defence and Security Forces, reinforced by “senior officers”, and attacked the village of Nathuko in the administrative post of Quiterajo, where an elderly man was beheaded, local sources say.
Spokesman for the General Command of the Police of the Republic of Mozambique Inacio Dina, who only last week reassured the people that this movement was “weakened”, did not confirm or deny any of these new attacks, only saying that: “At this moment the Defence and Security Forces continue to consolidate and restore public order and tranquility in the communities that have faced these criminal attacks.”
Despite the attacks in districts near the Rovuma basin, with its huge deposits of natural gas, National Hydrocarbons Company (ENH) chairman Omar Mithá says that the instability is not affecting the construction of the Afungi resettlement village in Palma, part of the billion-dollar Area 1 natural gas liquefaction enterprise led by the US company Anadarko.
However last week, the United States Embassy in Mozambique advised US citizens residing in or passing through the Palma district to leave immediately, and said they were aware of imminent attacks in the area.
Asked by A Verdade about a possible suspension of its activities and what security measures would need to be taken in the face of escalating violence, Anadarko said: “We take any potential security threat to our employees very seriously and continue to monitor the situation in Palma closely. Our top priority remains the safety of our employees, and for this reason we do not discuss details of our security measures.”
The Portuguese and Canadian embassies also warned their citizens to avoid Cabo Delgado province and, on Tuesday, the United Kingdom warned citizens to avoid travelling to the districts of Palma, Mocímboa da Praia and Macomia because of increased attacks by “groups linked to Islamic extremism”.
The silence of President Nyusi and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence and Security Forces, who has not even offered his condolences to the relatives of the at least 39 Mozambicans who have been murdered since 27 May, persists.Source: A Verdade