Cabo Ligado — or ‘connected cape’ — is a conflict observatory monitoring political violence in Mozambique, launched in partnership with Zitamar News, Mediafax, and the International Crisis Group.
Fears of an insurgent attack increased among civilians in Palma town last week, as insurgents continued to target routes into the town. Elsewhere in Cabo Delgado, food raids persisted in Macomia district, insurgents attempted to disrupt the route between Mocímboa da Praia and the government’s military base at Mueda, and fires unrelated to the insurgency caused an anxious populace to worry about attacks in the south of the province.
Last week’s attacks around Palma began on 14 September, when insurgents entered the village of Quissengue, Palma district in the middle of the day. Most civilians managed to escape to the woods, but insurgents wounded three people and burned down 18 homes. Later, on the same day, insurgents reportedly launched an assault near Diaca, Mocimboa da Praia district, which sits on the N380 road between Mueda and Mocimboa da Praia. The initial assault pushed back Mozambican troops, but the government forces rallied after being reinforced and eventually won the day. Five insurgents died in the fighting.
On 15 September, insurgents held up fishermen in Marijirane (also known as Namadoro), Macomia district, firing into the air just as the day’s catch was being brought in. No one was injured, but insurgents made off with a large amount of fish.
Two days later, insurgents launched another attack in Palma district, this time north of Palma town in the village of Kiwiya. Two local men were cutting wood near their fields when insurgents set upon them, decapitating both. On 20 September, insurgents -- dressed in Mozambican military uniforms -- entered Litamanda, Macomia district, and fired into the air to disperse civilians, much as they had at Marijirane five days earlier. Again, no one was injured, and one source noted that there seems to be a pattern of the insurgent contingent in Macomia district requiring raids to acquire food supplies.
In Macomia district, a possible clash took place when Dyck Advisory Group (DAG) helicopters fired shots in the area between Licangano and Xinavane -- just southwest of Macomia town -- on 18 September after a local woman reported suspicious movements in the area. No information has yet appeared about whether the helicopters hit anything.
Farther south, fires on 18 September at the Situ Island Lodge near Pemba and in the village of Namavi, Metuge district started rumors that insurgent attacks were underway. However, there is no evidence that insurgents had anything to do with either incident. They appear to have been accidents or unrelated acts of arson.
Further information emerged last week about a previously reported incident. The 12 September insurgent attack on three vehicles traveling through Pundanhar, Palma district resulted in at least 24 civilian deaths. The victims were buried on 16 September.