Mozambique: Insurgents Move Toward Pemba

President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his Mozambican counterpart President Filipe Nyusi exchange greetings in Chimoio, Mozambique.

Insurgent groups moved south toward Pemba Monday-Wednesday (27-29 April), but were stopped by the army and mercenaries. They did, however attack and burn villages.

The target appears to have been Metuge, across the bay to the west of Pemba. On Monday and Tuesday (27-28 Apr) there were reports of large military movements by road into Metuge district and deployment of South Africa Dyke Advisory Group helicopters. It appears that the military took control of Metuge; shops and offices are closed. Details are scarce, but it appears there was a confrontation at Nacoba, Quissanga district, about 20 km south of Quissanga town and 40 km from Pemba (by air, 85 km by road around the bay). T

The Mozambican military moving north and a large group of insurgents moving south met a Nacoba. It is unclear if there was actually any fighting but it was one of the largest government military movements of the war. Intelyse (30 April) says that insurgents on 28 April burned at least 20 houses in Nacoba and killed 15 head of livestock, but that "security forces supported by South African private military contractors (PMCs) arrived at the scene" and that insurgents fled the area "after brief clashes. Multiple military vehicles and helicopters were reported to be present in the area."

The government military action was a response to a move south by the insurgents, who established themselves near Napuda (Quissanga) and Namiteue (Metuge) 10 km south of Nacoba on the Quissanga-Nacoba-Metuge road. On 27 April there was a report that they had burned the nearby village of Muaja. Pinnacle News (29 Apr) reported that on Tuesday (28 April) insurgents burned Nacoba, Napuda, and a series of villages nearby along the north-south road: 1 de Maio, Natugo, Girumba, and Tacuanama. Carta De Mocambique (30 Apr) says insurgents on Tuesday reached another 5 km south to Messanja and Ntessa in Metuge.

At Nacoba the road is about 15 km inland from the coast and there are confirmed reports of attacks by insurgents on coastal villages. It is unclear if this was a separate group also moving south, or part of the main group leaving the main road and breaking up into smaller groups when confronted by government soldiers.

The village of Arimba was burned on Wednesday (29 Apr), and insurgents stole food and livestock and had a feast. The burning of Arimba is confirmed. One report said the attack was done by 16-20 men on 6-7 motorcycles. Arimba is an old and large coastal village and grew up around a coconut planation abandoned in the colonial era.

Insurgents were said Thursday morning (30 April) to have raided two other coastal villages. A group was said to be moving south on an old dirt road toward Namau, Namavi and Sessoane villages, 10 km south of Arimba and in Metuge district, and were said to have arrived at mid-day. {unconfirmed}

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