Maputo — Unidentified assailants, believed to be Islamic fundamentalists, attacked two villages in Nangade district, in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado, on Saturday, according to a report in Tuesday's issue of the independent newssheet "Mediafax".
The insurgents attacked the Machava village in broad daylight, between 12.00 and 13.00. They killed four people including a member of the Nangade district administration staff. This man was driving a tractor which was carrying cashew nuts from the village to Nangade town.
According to eye-witnesses, it was when he was picking up the cashew nuts that the insurgents attacked. The tractor was set on fire. The three other victims in the village were a father and his two sons.
That same day, at about 23.00, raiders attacked the Fifth Congress village. Here they met resistance, since the local administration, in coordination with the defence and security forces, had provided the village militia with three guns.
Three guns is not much, but it was enough for the militia to launch a counter attack, and their spirited reaction is credited with saving the lives of civilians.
But two of the militiamen were injured, one of whom later died in the Mueda District Hospital. As they left the village, the attackers set fire to 43 houses.
When "Mediafax" spoke to the Nangade district administrator, Dinis Mitandi, he said he could give no details, since he had been on holiday for the past four days. He neither confirmed nor denied the attacks, but simply said "since I wasn't there, I can't describe what happened".
He suggested "Mediafax" contact the police, but the Cabo Delgado district police command has stopped talking to journalists about the attacks.
National police spokesperson Inacio Dina even denied that a previous attack on a Nangade village, Chicuaia Velha, on 23 November, even took place - although witnesses spoke of 12 deaths and 40 houses burnt down.