Maputo — The Mozambican defence and security forces claim they killed more than 150 terrorists in operations between 21 and 23 June, in the Afungi peninsula, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, according to a report on Radio Mozambique.
The interim commander of the Afungi Special Theatre of Operations, Col. Francisco Assane, said that in the same operations, the defence forces captured 39 people who are believed to be part of the terrorist group.
They were taken prisoner "in combat, when we were exchanging fire with the enemy. The enemy was resisting, and was attacking our positions in Mondlane and Palma".
Assane also said that the terrorists are now using women to carry their weaponry. One of these women, captured in Palma district, and referred to only as Anika, said she had been ordered to spy on the movements of the defence forces, and report back to local terrorist commanders.
She claimed she worked for the terrorists because she had received death threats, She has a scar on her chest, which she claimed resulted from a knife wound inflicted by a terrorist when she said she intended to go to the authorities.
"They told me, take this money and go - don't tell the soldiers anything. If you tell them anything, we shall kill you", said Anika. When she was reluctant to take the money, "they asked me, do you want to die of hunger? Do what we tell you! Since I am poor and I was afraid, I accepted".
The defence forces also rescued over 100 people who had been prisoners of the terrorists in the Afungi region.
The commander of the army, Gen Cristovao Chume, told Radio Mozambique these rescues were the result of recent acquisition of land, sea and air equipment by the armed forces, allowing the troops to operate effectively, and inflict considerable losses on the enemy.
He also noted that the jihadists are now using human shields, to create additional difficulties for the defence forces.
"In all the offensive actions we undertake, as soon as we reach the place where the terrorist group is installed, the first barrier we encounter consists of children and women", said Chume. "We have been ordering our comrades in the fighting to save the lives of these children and women, and to go after those who are really carrying guns or who, even if they don't have guns, present themselves as part of the terrorist group".