Maputo — The terrorist gangs operating in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado on Friday night attacked the village of Chicomo, in Macomia district, and burnt down 103 houses, according to a report in Monday's issue of the independent newssheet "Carta de Mocambique".
Chicomo, which is about 45 kilometres from Macomia town, came under attack at about 20.00 on Friday
Eye-witnesses cited by the paper said the attackers were in a large group, believed to be the same group that had attacked Chitoyo village last Tuesday. That group beheaded two people in Chitoyo, then crossed the Messalo river into Muidumbe district, where they claimed a further two victims.
Several hours before the attack on Chicomo, a group of about 10 insurgents was seen nearby by villagers working in the fields. They brought the news back to the village, and so the population was on the alert.
Some of the villagers wanted to mount an ambush to trap the terrorists, but they did not have any weapons. Instead most of the Chicomo population fled into the bush, or made their way to the nearby villages of Onumoz (named after the 1992-1994 UN peace-keeping operation in Mozambique) and Nguida. This exodus ensured that nobody was killed in Chicomo.
Later in the weekend, about 70 people from Chicomo and Nguida formed a vigilante group tio hunt down the terrorists. It is not yet clear whether they had any success.
About 20 people from two other villages, Liukwe and Nkoe, fearing that they might be next on the insurgents' hit-list, went on Saturday morning to the Macomia district police command to urge the government to give them weapons to defend themselves, or to send a force to protect them.
On Saturday afternoon, refugees from Chicomo began arriving in Macomia town. In less than a week, three villages in the district (Chicomo, Chitoyo and Milamba) have been attacked, causing enormous losses to the villagers.
There has been no comment from the authorities on the latest attack.