Maputo — In their Tuesday raids into Muidumbe district, in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado, islamist terrorists overran the district capital, Namacunde, according to a report by the civil society organisation, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD).
They attacked units of the defence and security forces stationed in Namacunde, particularly the district police command. They looted ammunition from the Command, and then attacked other public buildings, including the district government offices, as well as a bank, a filling station and several shops.
The attack began at about 09.00, and the looting was continuing into the evening. Much of Namacunde's population took refuge in the bush, or fled towards the neighbouring district of Mueda.
The raids into Muidumbe began on Monday, notably with an attack on the village of Miangalewa, where the attackers burnt down a church and several informal shops and kidnapped an unspecified number of people.
One of those abducted was released because of his age. In a telephone conversation, he said "I am still shocked with what I saw: six men were shot dead after an attempt to escape".
Fear that they would be next spread among residents of Mueda town. One of them, cited by CDD, said "some people who arrived from Muidumbe said the terrorists had told them that the next town to be assaulted would be Mueda".
Mueda houses the main military barracks in the province, which is coordinating military operations against the insurgents.
Mueda is the home district of President Filipe Nyusi. It is also a bastion of the ruling Frelimo Party, and the Mueda Plateau is where Frelimo established its first liberated areas, during the war for Mozambican independence against Portuguese colonial rule.