8 June 2018

Mozambique: 35 Dead in Islamist Fighting in Coastal Cabo Delgado

Photo: Daily Post
(File photo).

Five people were killed last night in an attack on Namaluco, Maomia district, late last night (6 June). No more details are available. (O Pais online 7 June)

Seven people were killed and 164 houses and five vehicles burned late Monday night (4 June) in Naunde village, Macomia district, just 130 km north of Pemba on the coast road. Six of the dead were killed with machetes and one was shot. They group also attacked the local mosque, burning the Koran and prayer mats. Military forces arrived in an hour, but it was a rapid and organised attack, and the group had left before the military arrived. (O Pais 6 June) On Monday five people were decapitated in an attack on nearby Rueia village. (Zitamar, @Verdade 6 June) Ten people were beheaded Sunday 27 May in two villages in Palma district, further north, 25 de Junho and Monjane. All the attacks are reported to be by self-proclaimed Islamist militants.

Police spokesman Inacio Dias told a press conference that the Naunde attack was carried out by a small group of young men from Macomia district, armed mainly with machetes. This confirms parts of the study reported here last week  (News Reports 413, 29 May). Dias said that it was part of the larger group that carried out the Palma attacks. However, Dias went on to argue that the increase in attacks in fact shows the weakness of the groups because they are being successfully damaged by the riot police and military. (O Pais 6 June, Lusa 5 June).

STV (2 June) reported that on 30 May security forces killed eight alleged Islamist militants near 25 de Junho village. Thus in the past two weeks, 35 people have been killed in the violence - 27 villagers killed by militants and 8 people killed by the security forces.

RFI (28 May) reports that six of the seven mosques suspected of having links with Islamic fundamentalism and closed in 2017 have been reopened, because authorities that they have no connection with the armed attacks in the province or have broken contact with the insurgents. Provincial Director of Justice Alvaro Junior said: “Two months ago we reopened the mosques of Montepuez, Palma, and, last week, Jimbombo. Seven other mosques were officially destroyed.”

The solution is not only military warned Maulana Abdul Rashid, president of the Mozambique Islamic Community, yesterday. "The government must think differently and understand the causes of terrorist activity. … Closing mosques resolves nothing. Pursuing unsuspecting and innocent Muslims will not lead to anything; on the contrary, it will create a bad feeling in the Muslim family." (O Pais 7 June)

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