Maputo — The Islamists who seized control of the town of Mocimboa da Praia in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado on Monday morning pulled out at around 20.00, after some 17 hours of occupation, according to a report in Tuesday's issue of the independent newssheet "Mediafax".
During its incursion, the terrorist group took control of the main streets in the town and the barracks of the defence and security forces. They hoisted their flag - which is the black flag of the international terrorist coalition known as Islamic State, or Isis, with lettering in Arabic declaring "There is no God but God" (Allah, in Arabic).
Eye-witnesses told "Mediafax" that the raiders chanted this slogan repeatedly as they drove around the town in vehicles and on motorbikes.
The terrorists killed two women and injured three other people. The dead women were buried in a family cemetery in the afternoon.
The insurgents attacked the local prison, where they freed the inmates and vandalised he building. They also damaged the district government offices, the Mocimboa da Praia municipal council, and the residences of the mayor, and of the district administrator. Two banks came under attack, as did the civil registry office and the local secondary school. Several cars were set on fire.
Although when he talked to the press in Maputo on Monday, the general commander of the police, Bernadino Rafael, said "the defence forces are containing to fight the criminals in order to restore public order, security and tranquillity", that was not the impression of the townspeople with whom "Mediafax" spoke.
They claimed that the military contingent in the barracks fled, and that some of them removed their uniforms in order to merge with the public. One resident told the paper "The response from the authorities is not efficient. That's why the insurgents are continuing their abuses".