By the Numbers: Cabo Delgado, October 2017-February 2021
Total number of organized violence events: 807
Total number of reported fatalities from organized violence: 2,614
Total number of reported fatalities from civilian targeting: 1,312
The first reports of major insurgent resistance to the government’s ongoing offensive came in last week, beginning with an insurgent attack on government forces in Roma, Mocimboa da Praia district, on 16 February. Sporadic shooting began early that morning, growing into a heavy firefight that continued until noon. A video purporting to be of the aftermath of the fight showed a Mozambican police Casspir armored personnel carrier that had taken significant small arms fire and been hit by a rocket propelled grenade round that failed to explode. Insurgents withdrew after looting part of the village. Many civilians living in the cropland to the west of Roma fled, fearing that insurgents would return. No casualty estimates for the battle are available.
Roma sits on the road between Mueda and Mocimboa da Praia town, close to the border of the two districts and west of the crucial road junction at Awasse. That insurgents struck Roma suggests that the government, despite its offensive, has not consolidated control over the routes through western Mocimboa da Praia district that government forces will need to travel in order to reach Mocimboa da Praia town over land.
Also on 16 February, insurgents attacked government forces in Xitaxi, Muidumbe district, stealing food and military supplies. No one was killed. One member of the government security forces was injured in the fighting.
On 19 February, insurgents attacked the village of Quionga in northern Palma district near the Tanzanian border. According to a source quoted by Pinnacle News, 30 insurgents were involved in the attack and the raiders remained in the town until the next morning. Insurgents killed four people in Quionga, burned homes — including that of the head of the Quionga administrative post — and looted food in the village. Insurgents returned to Quionga the night of 20 February but were turned away by government security forces. According to one source, the insurgents withdrew north, toward the Tanzanian border.
Insurgents also released more hostages last week in an attempt to further reduce the strain on their food resources. In addition to the five girls who arrived in Macomia town two weeks ago, last week two young men arrived in Ibo district after having been prisoners of the insurgents for a long time,
Pinnacle News reported.
Food shortages continue to be a crisis in Palma, as the relief convoy missions of early February have not continued. There were over 50 trucks waiting in Nangade late last week, unable or unwilling to complete their trips to Palma due to security concerns and rain that has made the road treacherous.
Troops and equipment that was being used earlier in the month to escort convoys to Palma have now apparently been diverted for use elsewhere in the conflict.