Mozambique: Police Claim Control Of Empty Mocimboa, From A Distance

Violence in Cabo Delgado has forced thousands to flee their homes (file photo).

"We are not physically in the port and town of Mocimboa da Praia [but they] are not in the hands of the terrorists because we exercise an increased control," said Police Commander Bernardino Rafael in a press conference in Pemba Saturday (26 Sep). Many towns and villages are abandoned because of the war, but "there is no town taken as such, where they live and operate." (Noticias de Defesa, 27 Sep,“porto-de-mocimboa-da-praia-esta-sob-controlo-das-fds”---brafael)

Roads to Mocimboa remain closed. Along the coast insurgents appear to be stockpiling food. For example, villages have been raided when the fish catch comes in. People are told to go away, no one is hurt, but the fish are taken. Inland, there have been attacks and continued fighting on the road linking Mocimboa and Mueda and attacks on villages, including Chai, on the road going south toward Macomia. Electricity to the northern three districts was again cut.

People in Palma remain frightened and fear an attack. Vehicles carrying people fleeing Palma on the dirt road to Mueda were attacked near Pundahar, killing at least 28, on 12 September. Bangladeshi traders reportedly closed their shops and evacuated after learning that a Bangladesh national was among the victims in Pundahar. The road is still in use and there has been at least one attack more recently. Palma has been reinforced by the military which claims to have arrested some insurgents, including Palma residents, and to have killed 19 insurgents near Pandahar.

The tourist island of Vamizi was retaken by security forces, and now has at least 50 soldiers based there. The island is important for controlling the coastal route north to the Afungi peninsula where the gas processing is being developed. A very different view of the attack was given in the British newspaper, the Sun, which is only interested in celebrities: "Hell in paradise: ISIS take over stunning islands where Daniel Craig and Bono holiday". The "luxury islands off the coast of Mozambique, where A-list celebrities spend their holidays, have been overrun by insurgents." With pictures of the damage as well as of the celebrities. `(Sun, UK, 17 Sept)

Further south the government has recaptured the town of Bilibiza and on 25 September repelled an insurgent attack there, but there has been fighting in the mangrove zones to the east, between Quissanga and Ibo.

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