Maputo — No government facilities are operational in the town of Mocimboa da Praia, in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado, following the occupation of much of the town by islamist terrorists at the end of June.
Interviewed by the independent television station STV, the mayor of Mocimboa da Praia, Carlos Momba, said "no services are being delivered there. Everything's stopped. None of the government's facilities survived. We don't have a single government infrastructure functioning".
The terrorists attacked the town on 27 June, and controlled much of it for three days. They have now withdrawn, leaving ruins.
"Now the town is in the hands of our forces. The town is under control", said Momba. But Momba himself has not yet returned to the town, and many of its residents have fled, or were kidnapped by the terrorists.
Local sources, cited by the independent newssheet "Mediafax", said "many people were kidnapped by the group. It's believed that this was for forced marriages, forced labour, and recruiting people into their ranks".
A Mocimboa trader, who has taken refuge in the town of Montepuez, told "Mediafax" that he had received information on the kidnapping of 28 children from the Mocimboa neighbourhoods where he used to live.
A Mocimboa refugee who is now in Mueda said she had seen three of her cousins being abducted.
A stonemason from the Mocimba neighbourhood of Naduadua said he had managed to locate some of his family, but his two teenage daughters are still missing, feared kidnapped.
A source from a religious mission in Mocimboa da Praia told the Portuguese news agency Lusa that the 27 June attack was the worst the town had suffered. Bodies of victims had lain in the streets for days. "People were killed in all neighbourhoods in the town", he said. "People are afraid, and many of them are leaving Mocimboa da Praia".
Economic activity was at a standstill, and the terrorists had looted all the shops, this source added.