Mocimboa da Praia was occupied by insurgents this morning (Monday 23 March) and at 18h00 this afternoon was still under their control with no military response, report Estacio Valoi and Nazira Suleimane of Moz24Horas. In two press conferences today, the spokesperson for the General Command of the Mozambican police, Orlando Mudumane, confirmed the attack.
He told reporters in Maputo that the insurgents had attacked and occupied the barracks of the defence forces, where they hoisted their black flag. Apparently senior and more experienced officials had recently moved to the main base in Mueda, leaving newly arrived officials in charge in Mocimboa.
The police commander Bernardino Rafael made a flying visit with press last Monday (16 March) to show the press everything was in control. President Nyusi visited Mueda on 13 March. (AIM, @Verdade, O Pais, 23 Mar; CDD 22 Mar) The town of Mocimboa da Praia was occupied for a day in the first action of the civil war, on 5 October 2017.
Insurgents apparently arrived by both sea and land, and also attacked the police station, freeing prisoners. Houses have been burned and a school and other infrastructure destroyed. Dozens of people have fled in panic to the local hospital and mosques, assuming them to be safer. The invaders have built barricades on the main roads leading into the town, which they control.