Maputo — The Mozambican police have indirectly confirmed a story, first published in the independent weekly "Savana", that islamist terrorists murdered dozens of people in Muidumbe district, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, on 8 April.
Cited by Radio Mozambique, the spokesperson for the General Command of the Mozambican police, Orlando Mudumane, said that the terrorists, in their attempts to recruit young people to their ranks, have encountered resistance, and reacted by murdering those who refused to join.
"They cruelly and indiscriminately shot dead 52 youths in the village of Xitaxi, in Muidumbe district", he accused.
This s clearly the same massacre mentioned by "Savana", in its issue of 10 April. "Savana" put the death toll at betwen 50 and 70.
The paper reported that the terrorists struck into Muidumbe on 7 April, where they overran the district capital, Namacunde, and occupied the district police command.
Resistance from the islamist incursion came from a group of veterans of the country's independence war (waged between 1964 and 1974) who that same day ambushed a group of the insurgents. They cut off all possible escape routes, and killed more than 30 of the islamists.
The massacre the following day may have been retaliation. The insurgents called the residents of Xitaxi village to a meeting. But there was no meeting, and when the villagers turned up, at about 13.00, several of them were seized and beheaded. Many others were gunned down as they fled.
In other words, although the police refused to say anything about Muidumbe at the time, "Savana" got the story right.
Reconstructing the attack on Muidumbe, "Savana" said the islamists struck into the district on the morning of 7 April, between 05.00 and 06.00. By midday on 8 April, they had raided Namacunde and seven other villages.
In Namacunde, they vandalized the Muidumbe district administrative office, a local bank and a filling station. In Muatide, the largest village in the district, the insurgents destroyed the local health centre, and also attacked a secondary school.
At the villages of Miyangalewa, 24th June and Mwambula the raiders burnt down an unspecified number of houses. Five people were reportedly killed in Miyangalewa.
The international terrorist organisation known as Islamic State (or ISIS or Daesh), has claimed responsibility for the Muidumbe attacks on its website, which carried a photo of the ruins of the Namacunde bank.