Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Saturday declared that the Mozambican armed forces are responding firmly and courageously to the terrorist attacks in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
The President was visiting Cabo Delgado to judge for himself the level of response by the government's defence and security forces to the terrorist attacks by the jihadist group which has been operating in parts of the province since October 2017.
Speaking in the town of Mueda, he said the results of the recent military operations are encouraging.
"From the destructive attacks seen on the ground in Mocimboa da Praia, Quissanga, Muidumbe, and now in Macomia it is clear who is destroying and what they have destroyed", said Nyusi, cited by Radio Mozambique. "But the latest battles waged by the defence and security forces were enormous, and they were very productive".
Thos latest clashes were for control of the town of Macomia. The terrorists attacked Macomia on Thursday and a battle raged for almost three days. The islamists are reported to have suffered heavy losses.
"We have information that high ranking figures in the enemy force were killed", said Nyusi, who added that morale among the government forces is high.
In an interview with Mozambican Television (TVM), Defence Minister Jaime Neto, said that two top leaders of the islamists, known locally as "Al Shabaab" (although they do not seem to have any direct connection with the Somali organisation of that name), were killed. They were both Tanzanians, and one of them had led the first attack against Mocimboa da Praia in October 2017.
He put the total number of islamists killed in the Macomia fighting at 78. "Probably they were not expecting this better organisation of our forces", said Neto.
He urged the local population to continue supporting the defence and security forces. "Without this collaboration, it would have been very difficult for us to undertake the counter-attack we waged against the terrorists after they had set themselves up in Macomia town".
The Cabo Delgado provincial governor, Valige Tauabo, told reporters in the provincial capital, Pemba, on Sunday that calm was returning to Macomia and the surrounding villages, and some of the people who had fled from the terrorist attack are now going back to their homes.
The terrorists caused serious damage in Macomia. An electricity sub-station was destroyed, cutting off power to all the northern districts of Cabo Delgado. Also reduced to ashes were the district police command, the local health centre, the main market in the town, and the residence of the district administrator.