Mozambique: Insurgents Attack Again and Threaten Macomia Elections

Photo: ISS
(File photo).

Insurgents again attacked Quiterajo, Macomia district, Cabo Delgado. The attack Wednesday (18 September) started around 7 pm and lasted until 4 am Thursday. In about 10 hours, 6 people were murdered and 10 abducted. In addition, huts built after the last attack on 10 September were reduced to ashes and families were again displaced. The attackers' message is that they do not want people to reside there, which means there will be no elections in that region.

At the opening of the election campaign, Police General Commander Bernardino Rafael assured that the police would defend the attack zones to allow for election campaign and quiet elections. But since the campaign began 20 days ago, 6 attacks have been confirmed, an average of one attack every 3 days.

Quiterajo is one of the four administrative posts of Macomia. Chai and Macomia Sede are situated in the interior, along the main road N 308. Mucojo and Quiterajo are in the coastal zone and are the most populated regions of the district; they have been seriously affected by both the cyclone and attacks.

Quiterajo is besieged in the coastal zone, with people unable to reach the district capital, Macomia Sede, about 50 kilometers inland. The only alternative that the population has found to leave the region is to use small fishing boats, but in Wednesday's attack the insurgents set fire to the vessels that the population uses to leave the area of attacks.

The Government has not been assisting people to leave the attack zones as it argues that they should stay and defence and security forces would be in the villages. But the response from government forces has been too weak to stop the insurgents.

Macomia has registered 53,000 people for the October 15 elections; it elects 3 of the 82 seats in the Cabo Delgado Provincial Assembly.

New study: An excellent study on the insurgency in Cabo Delgado by Saide Habibe, Salvador Forquilha and Joao Pereira was published Tuesday (in Portuguese) by the Instituto de Estudos Sociais e Economicos (IESE). It notes the attempt to stop voting in the elections, and cites the importance of Quiterajo in the illegal timber trade. It is available on http://bit.ly/IESE-CaboDelgado

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