Information has only come out in the past week about the massacres two weeks ago by the insurgents in Xitaxi, which killed 50-70, mostly young men, and in a series of attacks on civilian boats by the military on Ibo island which have killed 18-48, including a local Renamo leader.
Reports are confused and sometimes conflicting, which is exacerbated by the increasingly severe limitations on the press. Palma community radio journalist Ibraimo Mbaruco has been missing since he was taken, apparently by the military, on 7 April; there are growing fears that he has been "disappeared" by the military. And for its regular Wednesday Maputo press briefings, the General Command of the Mozambican Police on 15 and 22 April only invited state media, Radio Mocambique (RM) and Mozambique Television (TVM), and excluded all private and independent media. MISA (Media Institute of Southern Africa) in a critical 24 April statement suggested this was a response to private media criticism of police behaviour.
Comment: We have no independent sources and as the newsletter title "News Reports & Clippings" makes clear, we report what is in the media. The media crackdown has, we think intentionally, made people in Cabo Delgado afraid to report. This leaves the field open to rumour, error and exaggeration. The best we can do is apply a plausibility filter and cite the sources. (See also the background note in the attached pdf version of this newsletter.) jh