Maputo — Last week at least a further 18 people died in the insurgency in the northern province of Cabo Delgado that pits a shadowy Islamic fundamentalist group against the Mozambican defence and security forces.
According to Tuesday's issue of the independent newssheet "Carta de Mocambique", 15 of the dead were insurgents killed in a single clash with the Mozambican forces last Wednesday at Ntuleni village in Palma district.
According to military and civilian sources contacted by the paper, the clash lasted for about an hour. The intensity of the artillery fire by the Mozambican forces was such that the explosions could be heard in several nearby villages. There was no confirmation of any losses on the side of the defence forces.
The paper's sources say that the Wednesday attack allowed calm to return to this part of Palma, where people had feared a possible upsurge of violence to mark Eid-ul-Adha, one of the most significant dates in the Islamic calendar.
There had been claims that the terrorist group would attack the Palma villages on the eve of Eid-ul-Adha.
Perhaps in response to their Wednesday losses, on Saturday the terrorists attacked Simbulongo, in Macomia district, where they burnt three civilians by setting them alight. They also set more than 20 houses on fire.